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Inequality of security: Exploring violent pluralism and territory in six neighbourhoods in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Braehler, VB; (2014) Inequality of security: Exploring violent pluralism and territory in six neighbourhoods in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

Security is a universal human right and a highly valued societal good. It is crucial for the preservation of human life and is of inestimable value for our societies. However, in Latin America, the right to security is far from being universally established. The aim of this sequential, exploratory mixed methods study is to explore the logic of security provision in six neighbourhoods in Rio de Janeiro (Vidigal, Santíssimo, Complexo do Alemão, Tabuleiro*, Botafogo and Novo Leblon) and assess its implications for citizens’ right to security. The findings from the research show that, on a city level, Rio de Janeiro’s security network can best be understood as an oligopoly because different security providers (police, municipal guards, military, private security companies, militias and drug trafficking factions) are connected through cooperative, neutral or conflictual relationships and need to consider the actions and reactions of other groups when taking strategic decisions. On a neighbourhood level, the preferred option for security providers are monopolistic-type constellations, characterised by relative peace and stability. However, all actors are willing to engage in violence if the perceived political and/or economic benefits are great enough. The thesis shows that the relative power and influence of the security providers are primarily determined by the way they are perceived by the local communities and by their capacity to use violence effectively. Despite its appearance as chaotic, violence is therefore an instrument which is negotiated and managed quite carefully. The thesis concludes that insecurity and violence in Rio de Janeiro are primarily fuelled by the struggle for territorial control between conflicting security providers within the oligopoly. The oligopolistic constellation of security providers leads to an inequality of security, defined as a condition in which the right to security is not enjoyed by all residents to the same extent.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Inequality of security: Exploring violent pluralism and territory in six neighbourhoods in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Keywords: Rio de Janeiro / security / inequality / violent pluralism / oligopoly
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1457437
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