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
Scholars argue that military ideologies, discourses, and practices are increasingly deployed in poor urban areas to control populations deemed dangerous. However, very little research exists to document how residents in targeted neighborhoods experience these security interventions. This article addresses this gap by considering the case of Rio de Janeiro’s UPP Program, wherein the military police occupied several of Rio de Janeiro’s favelas, or low-income marginalized neighborhoods. The intervention began in 2008 and aimed to expel drug traffickers who had controlled these areas since the 1970s and install permanent policing precincts. While many studies suggest that the urban poor tend to reject aggressive policing practices, the UPP received widespread approval by favela residents in the first years of the occupation. This article draws upon ethnographic fieldwork conducted in the City of God, one of the first neighborhoods occupied by the UPP, to examine the factors underlying residents’ positive assessment of the UPP. I found that support for the UPP hinged on (a) its deviation from the brutal and ineffective military interventions deployed in the past; (b)
the UPP’s ability to subdue violent drug traffickers and restore public security; (c) state investments in social services and resources attributed to the occupation; and (d) the race, gender, and age profiles of participants, wherein women, the elderly, and lighter skinned residents reported greater approval for the UPP than young Black men. Ultimately, these findings suggest that variability between security interventions, their
impact on public security and social development, and demographic diversity within targeted neighborhoods must be considered if we are to fully understand how the urban poor experience militarized security interventions.
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.
ACTIVISM UNDER FIRE
June 10, 2028
This book project examines the strategies employed by activists in the City of God--Rio de Janeiro's most dangerous gang territory--to improve their neighborhood and make demands for their rights.