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The pacification of Brazil's urban margins: peripheral urbanisation and dynamic order-making

Richmond, Matthew Aaron (2022) The pacification of Brazil's urban margins: peripheral urbanisation and dynamic order-making. Contemporary Social Science, 17 (3). 248 - 261. ISSN 2158-2041

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Identification Number: 10.1080/21582041.2021.1906937


This article explores the relationship between informal processes of urbanisation and order-making at Brazil's urban margins. It draws on research conducted in contrasting neighbourhoods in the peripheries of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, analysing the influence of different kinds of criminal organisation on these areas. It is argued that the unpredictable processes surrounding peripheral urbanisation – the irregular occupation or subdivision of land, the growth of diverse markets, physical consolidation and, in some cases, eventual formalisation – provide a dynamic backdrop against which local order and disorder are produced. To theorise these interrelated processes, I mobilise the concept of ‘pacification’. This is usually used to refer to violent state interventions against socially and racially marginalised populations that are followed by measures designed to create more lasting stability. However, I argue that, while it may ultimately have such effects, pacification should be understood as a provisional outcome of ongoing negotiations between state and criminal actors rather than as a coherent, top-down project.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2021 The Authors
Divisions: IGA: Latin America and Caribbean Centre
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GF Human ecology. Anthropogeography
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
Date Deposited: 26 Apr 2021 17:42
Last Modified: 21 Jun 2022 08:45

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