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Tepito “El Barrio Bravo”

Jonathan Shpall | B.A Sociology, Harvard College


Although Tepito is only 10 blocks away from Mexico City’s historic city center, it has a notorious history of rampant crime and has maintained a tenuous relationship with the state for many decades. Tepito is both a thriving commercial space, home to one of the largest informal markets in the city, as well as a highly populated residential area. My work examines economic informality in Tepito on a micro level, with the intent of explaining how the neighborhood’s localized economy has been critical in developing an internal order that has helped to maintain the status quo. Additionally, my work argues that forces of globalization have also played an integral role in helping the neighborhood resist government control and reject the myriad proposed changes to its built environment and economy.