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Coping with Violence in Brazil: Violence, fear and ‘the Other’ in Rio de Janeiro

By J.M. Pol


Rio de Janeiro forms an emblematic case of endemic urban violence. Gangs of drugs traffickers, police forces, death squads, militias, vigilante groups, private security organizations and some individual citizens, mark the cities violent fabric. The widespread violence, and the fear and insecurity it generates, shape the daily lives of the citizens. Rio de Janeiro, also known as ‘divided city’, is furthermore characterized by high levels of inequality and social exclusion. Different social groups are therefore related to armed actors in a different way and have different recourses to protect themselves against them. This study analyses how people perceive and deal with urban violence, within the context of the mutual relationship between the neighboring residents of a favela and a middle class neighborhood in Rio de Janeiro. Further, the question whether the residents interact or deal with each other in order to cope with violence, is explored. Based on ethnographic fieldwork I argue how perceptions about violence and insecurity, and strategies to deal with it, are structured by the way the residents of these neighborhoods relate to each other. I therefore build upon notions about urban violence, fear and insecurity, Othering and coping strategies

Topics: Sociale Wetenschappen, Rio de Janeiro, urban violence, fear and insecurity, Othering, coping strategies, social boundaries
Year: 2009
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