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This article studies the central role of the small-time political figures in Mexico City who build local and national political bridges within and reaching out from the neighborhood. The author posits the concept of go-betweens in everyday life: residents of the neighborhood who, through their position within local social networks, specific availability, and discreet expertise (in activism), supports neighbors in their involvement with politics and the administration through an unseen and deliberately invisible work. By switching focus from protest action to the routine of everyday life, we can see the expertise that stays mostly invisible to activist groups. But, according to the analytical toolkit of a sociologist, this can be described as: simply being present, and more importantly remaining present during periods of protest; being constantly available and accessible to neighbors; being able to manage the waiting period during social movements and the relationship with the administration. Consequently, waiting is a fundamental activist skill, just like public speaking or knowing how to use more technical expertise.

  • Social movements
  • Mexico City
  • everyday life
  • occupation
  • broker
  • waiting
Hélène Combes
This is the latest publication of the author on cairn.
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