Negotiating Boundaries: Gender, Violence and Transformation by P. Wilding

By P. Wilding

The favelas (slums) of Rio de Janeiro offer an amazing case examine considering the fact that they're well known for prime degrees of police and gang violence leading to excessive demise charges between younger black males, inflicting either outrage and worry. This ebook foregrounds women's reports and the way diverse different types of violence overlap and strengthen each other.

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Similar to a tank with blacked-out windows, these armoured vehicles provide anonymity (and impunity) to the perpetrators of indiscriminate aggression and thus cause widespread panic when they appear. The caveirão featured heavily in the narratives of young men interviewed for this research, who cited them as a source of violence and producer of fear. When I asked about common problems for favela residents, Marcello (15 years) gave a typical response: ‘The residents are scared of the police. The caveirão enters at night and injures or even kills people.

In contrast, in response to crimes with a clear victim and perpetrator, punishment can transmit a clear message of warning, gang justice and order. If the gang makes an example of a perpetrator, perhaps through particularly brutal punishment, this can bolster the gang reputation as socially-minded protectors. Thus, I argue that political expediency – as a means of diversion from other issues or simply when the gang reputation is at a low point – can also make intervention attractive. Gang intervention cannot, therefore, simply be understood as a reaction to breaking their rules, but depends on the identity of the individuals involved, the need to send a message at that moment in time, as well as the clarity of the message – whether of support, protection or warning.

Rosa’s testimony of this encounter does not point to any personal relationships or social position of influence – though this is not to say that she may have been seen as a respected community member – but that the key point was her vulnerability as a single mother. Therefore, the calculation of who will be protected or favoured is potentially quite complex. The flip side of favouring certain residents, of course, is that those who might be considered unreliable, deviant or marginalised in some way, or those without power, may be disbelieved and unprotected (Arias and Rodrigues 2006:70), a point which will be taken up in more detail in Chapter 4.

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