The social sciences are undergoing a paradigm shift towards a politicaleconomy approach to the analysis of Society (Frank, 1967; Harvey, 1973; Castells, 1977; Palma, 1978). While no simple answers are likely to emerge from this new paradigm, at least new and interesting issues have been posed. In this chapter I wish to examine and illustrate issues which have emerged from the debates of the 1970s and which I believe focus attention on the key elements of how a city in Latin America functions.