Exclusion and Agency in Rio De Janeiro: an Analysis of the Marginalization of Favela Residents and Their Resistance to Violence.
Soltys, Gabrielle C.
- Submitted in partial fulfillment of the degree Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. Abstract: Brazil has experienced a significant increase in political power and economic strength over the past decade, allowing a growing number of Brazilians to leave poverty and to enjoy higher living standards. However, this change has not affected all Brazilians ... read moreequally, with millions still living in favelas and facing marginalization and stigmatization on a daily basis. This thesis begins by discussing the characteristics of favelas in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and their residents and moves to analyze the causes of discrimination against favela residents, including race and gender, and the criminalization of individuals living in favelas. The thesis moves to explore violence in the public and private spheres in the favelas and the way in which the authorities use it as a justification for police operations to restore order in the favelas. It then discusses the growth of violent and organized crime in certain favelas, as well as the state’s reaction via military police operations, women’s police stations, and Pacifying Police Units, and its effectiveness at responding to violence. Finally, the thesis turns to the responses of favela residents and community organizations, and argues that these groups have had some success in attracting the attention of domestic and international audiences through the use of mainstream and social media, in raising awareness of incidents of police brutality and discrimination, and in obtaining a response from state authorities. However, the state still needs to fill many gaps in order to fully integrate favela residents into Brazilian society and to put an end to policies that exclude these individuals. Brazil’s recent growth in political and economic power therefore represents an opportunity for the state to address its legacy of marginalization and discrimination and to formulate policies that will make the country more inclusive of all its citizensread less