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Re-imagining the geography of the favelas: pacification, tourism, and transformation in Complexo do Alemão, Rio de Janeiro

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Thesis type
(Thesis) M.A.
Date created
This thesis examines the recent intersection of two forces, complementary and competing: pacification and favela tourism in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Rio’s favelas have long been considered archetypal neighbourhoods of poverty and crime. Pacification involves a military and police occupation of targeted communities, to control drug cartel-related violence. Complexo do Alemão is a cluster of fifteen favelas, transforming through pacification and tourism at a rapid pace, both materially and discursively. This research involves a comprehensive look at these forces in Alemão, incorporating results from my 2013 field research, including interviews with residents and guides. Tourism in Alemão has seen mixed success; still, it brings unique benefits to the local population, such as protection, accountability, and a means to reclaim occupied space. In addition, favela tourism is an integral tool to tackling the stigmatization of favela residents as talentless criminals, part of a larger reshaping of ‘favela’ in the geographical imagination.
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Scholarly level
Supervisor or Senior Supervisor
Thesis advisor: Mann, Geoff
Thesis advisor: Kingsbury, Paul
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etd8747_ELeBaron.pdf 30.52 MB

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