Monika Streule is an urban scholar and a Marie-Skłodowska Curie Fellow at the Latin America and Caribbean Centre of the London School of Economics. Her research engages with the social production of space, urbanization processes and methods and methodology of qualitative research.
She specialises in comparative urbanism and works on a relational understanding of urban territory from post- and decolonial perspectives for a more global approach to understanding cities.
Monika’s first book Ethnography of urban Territories (2018, Westfälisches Dampfboot) is is a major output of her interdisciplinary approach and extensive fieldwork in Mexico City. The book provides insights into everyday forms of agency in urbanization and contributes to an understanding of the spatial dimension of society. The primary research presented is based on two main interests: on the one hand, a focus on understanding the predominant urbanization processes which have shaped the metropolitan territories of Mexico City in a historical as well as in a contemporary perspective. On the other hand, the scope of the research entailed developing and applying an interdisciplinary mixed set of methods to study urbanization processes empirically at large scale.
Currently, Monika is the principle investigator of the project ‘Decolonizing ecology: Contested urban territories in Mexico City and La Paz/El Alto’. She was awarded a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship, funded by the European Commission. The research examines socio-territorial conflicts that have become central to cities of Latin America due to a range of specific conditions including the construction boom in urban infrastructure megaprojects, land reforms, and emerging urban social movements that call for a more responsible and accountable relationship with the urban natural environment. Through a systematic, comparative study of indigenous urban movements in the metropolitan areas of Mexico City, Mexico, and La Paz–El Alto, Bolivia, this research ethnographically theorizes social practices to generate and convey innovative concepts and methods. The project draws on Monika’s expertise in mixed methods, particularly on ethnography and cartography, and advances them with collaborative and dialogical approaches including mapping workshops and oral history interviews to co-produce urban knowledge and represent different practices together with indigenous urban communities and Latin America-based scholarship. Since the emerging concepts will offer a comparative, detailed and situated analysis of daily practices reaching beyond a specific case study, the project will open a conceptual space to collectively build an extended vocabulary to understand the social and material production of urban natures crucial for urban studies more broadly.
Monika received her PhD in Urban Studies from ETH Zürich and holds a MA in Anthropology, Sociology and Political Sciences from the University of Zurich. She was a visiting researcher at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México UNAM in several occasions, and conducted post-doctoral studies at the Institute of Advanced Studies of the University College London, at the HafenCity University Hamburg and at the Universidad Tecnológica de La Habana José Antonio Echeverría CUJAE. She is an associated researcher at the Instituto de Investigaciones Socio-Económicas de la Universidad Católica Boliviana, La Paz.