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

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Matthew RichmondORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


This article explores the relationship between informal processes ofurbanisation and order-making at Brazil’s urban margins. It drawson research conducted in contrasting neighbourhoods in theperipheries of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, analysing theinfluence of different kinds of criminal organisation on theseareas. It is argued that the unpredictable processes surroundingperipheral urbanisation–the irregular occupation or subdivisionof land, the growth of diverse markets, physical consolidationand, in some cases, eventual formalisation–provide a dynamicbackdrop 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 stateinterventions against socially and racially marginalisedpopulations that are followed by measures designed to createmore lasting stability. However, I argue that, while it mayultimately have such effects, pacification should be understood asa provisional outcome of ongoing negotiations between stateand criminal actors rather than as a coherent, top-down project.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Richmond MA

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Contemporary Social Science

Year: 2022

Volume: 17

Issue: 3

Pages: 248-261

Online publication date: 15/04/2021

Acceptance date: 16/03/2021

Date deposited: 11/11/2023

ISSN (print): 2158-2041

ISSN (electronic): 2158-205X

Publisher: Routledge


DOI: 10.1080/21582041.2021.1906937


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Funder referenceFunder name
FAPESP Postdoctoral Grant
Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo