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Ludic maps and capitalist spectacle in Rio de Janeiro

Angelini, Alessandro (2015) Ludic maps and capitalist spectacle in Rio de Janeiro. Geoforum, 65. pp. 421-430. ISSN 0016-7185

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Identification Number: 10.1016/j.geoforum.2015.01.015


Rio de Janeiro is undergoing a makeover that is undeniably spectacular. Redevelopment schemes are dramatically rearranging the urban landscape, and crucially, this economic growth hinges on the production and circulation of images of the city. This paper explores a site of alterity and resistance where a favela youth collective has re-created Rio from its margins. This miniature world, known as Morrinho and built of bricks, mortar, and re-used materials, hosts a role-playing game featuring thousands of inch-tall avatars. This paper argues that re-visioning the world anew through play makes the society of the spectacle inhabitable and thus contestable. How does the society of the spectacle become a terrain for struggle in Rio? Locating spectacle production in nation-state formation and the urban process, the paper provides a genealogy of the spectacle beyond the modern North Atlantic metropole. Locating the favela within a Brazilian geographical imagination frames ethnographic data collected as an observer and participant in the Morrinho game. While the spectacle may hinge on the relationship between visuality and power, this essay observes how signs take on material lives through ludic re-appropriation. Play becomes a form of commentary, an alternative mode of knowledge about the city, and functions dually as both description of and participant in the social world in which it is embedded.

Item Type: Article
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Additional Information: © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.
Divisions: Geography & Environment
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Date Deposited: 25 Nov 2015 15:55
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2021 00:24

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