Confronting Chronic Shocks: Social Resilience in Rio de Janeiro’s Poor Neighborhoods
With Thomas Vicino, Ricardo Fernandes and Viviane Potiguara
While much of the literature on social resilience is concerned with how cities overcome “shocks” to the urban system, much less is known about the strategies of survival and adaptation among its poorest residents. We argue that residents in poor, often informal, neighborhoods are faced with chronic shocks, or constantly recurring
disasters, such as floods, severe illness, or violent police invasions. In this paper, we draw on focus groups, participant-observation and a survey (n=989) based on a participatory action research methodology in Cidade de Deus, one of Rio de Janeiro's poor neighborhoods (or “favelas”). We examine how concentrated poverty and violence affect residents' well-being and survival strategies. We find that residents in these areas address chronic shocks along varying levels of: (1) ‘formality,’ or engagement with the state apparatus or formal economy; (2) contentious politics; and (3) collectivity, from addressing the needs of the individual or kinship network to the neighborhood. We conclude that the variability in strategies reflects residents' ability to adapt to an uneven and unjust urban environment. Poor residents seek the same rights, resources, and privileges of other urban citizens.
RETHINKING FAVELA GOVERNANCE: NONVIOLENT POLITICS IN RIO DE JANEIRO’S GANG TERRITORIES
Politics & Society
2019 Honorable Mention, Best Article Award from the Peace, War and Social Conflict Section of the American Sociological Association
2018 Co-Honorable Mention, Student Paper Prize, from the Sociology of Development Section of the American Sociological Association
Since the 1980s when drug gangs became embedded in Rio de Janeiro’s favelas, or poor urban neighborhoods, much has been written about the violent regimes that govern these spaces. This article argues that a non-violent political regime run by activist residents also plays a critical role in favela governance by expanding the provision of services, promoting social development, fighting for citizenship rights of favela residents, and inserting favelas into political networks across the city. This claim is based on ethnographic fieldwork conducted between 2014 and 2017 in the City of God, one of Rio’s most dangerous gang-controlled neighborhoods. Paradoxically, in their efforts to improve the neighborhood and fight for their rights, the non-violent political regime in the City of God both subverted violent politics while also providing the conditions for its survival. Nonetheless, these findings suggest that scholarship must account for non-violent political actors to fully understand favela governance.
UNEVEN DEVELOPMENT AND THE MAKING OF RIO DE JANEIRO
Routledge Companion to the Suburbs
This chapter provides an overview of the landscape of state interventions and neglect that have produced high levels of inequality between city residents and have produced multiple forms of exclusion of its 1.6 million favela residents. It argues that urban inequality in Rio de Janeiro is not a produce of an absent municipal government in its poor neighborhoods or even with withdrawal of the state's social sphere since the neoliberal era. Rather, it is uneven development--unequal investments in resources and maintenance of the social and physical infrastructure--that characterizes urban polarization and the manifold challenges of Rio's favela neighborhoods.
"IT WAS TOTALLY DIFFERENT THAN WHAT WE HAD BEFORE:" PERCEPTIONS OF URBAN MILITARISM UNDER RIO DE JANEIRO’S PACIFYING POLICING UNITS
2016 Best Paper Presented by a Junior Scholar Award, from the Defense, Public Security, and Democracy Section of the Latin American Studies Association
2016 Student Paper Competition Winner, from the Conflict, Social Action and Change Division of the Society for the Study of Social Problems
THE POLITICS OF CONTESTED URBAN SPACE: THE 2013 PROTEST MOVEMENT IN BRAZIL
Journal of Urban Affairs
With Thomas Vicino
In June 2013, Brazil witnessed one of its largest protest movements in history when more than 1 million Brazilians marched on city streets to demand improve- ments to urban life. As the epicenters of protests, cities have become an important location for examining the demands, politics, and social change strategies of contemporary citizenship. In this article, we analyze the evolution of Brazil’s protest movement. Based on participant observation, archival research, secondary data, and thick description, we conduct a historical event analysis. By examining the narratives, practices, and forms that emerged in Brazil’s 2013 protests, we argue that contemporary urban citizenship is transformed in impor- tant ways in response to both global and local changes. Policymakers and planners need to be prepared to deal with the realities of urbanization, and we offer perspectives on how citizenship can better accommodate new growth and societal changes.
BREAKING THE CITY: MILITARIZATION AND SEGREGATION IN RIO DE JANEIRO
With Thomas Vicino
Emerging from the global city literature of the 1980s and 1990s, a vast scholarship has developed that embraces the ‘dual city’ concept as a useful analytical tool for explaining how global transformations produce polarization within cities. However, less is known about how local policies shape uneven pat- terns of development. Through an examination of Rio de Janeiro's Favela Pacification Program, we argue that state-level public policies play a significant role in institutionalizing duality. The recent military occupation of the slums in Rio de Janeiro demonstrates how the historically and politically contextual- ized public policy of confrontation has exacerbated tensions between the city's elites and poor residents along a number of social, economic, and political dimensions. Local policymakers can influence the impact of globalization on social polarization by considering the effects of public policies on spatial justice.
MASCULINITIES AND SEXUAL VIOLENCE: A STATE OF THE FIELD
With Mollie Pepper
Despite strong evidence that men perpetrate most acts of sexual violence, little is known about the factors that lead some men to commit such harmful acts. A growing body of feminist scholarship has begun to explore this question, although the disciplinary and geographic breadth of these studies has prevented the development of a cohesive research agenda. This literature review contributes to this task by reviewing the major theoretical contributions to the study of masculinity and sexual violence, detailing some of the ways in which sexual violence aids in the production of masculine individuals, groups, and states. Taken as a whole, we argue that this body of scholarship views sexual violence as a mechanism through which social constructions of masculinity are produced and reproduced, although the forms that this violence takes vary by context. We conclude with a discussion of some of the theoretical and empir- ical limitations of this research and consider the implications of these findings for public policy.