Polyhedron of Powers, Displacements, Socio-Spatial Negotiations and Residents’ Everyday Experiences in a “Pacified” Favela

  • Åsne Håndlykken-Luz University of South-Eastern Norway
Keywords: Favela, UPP (Police Pacification Unit), dispositif, polyhedron, everyday urban politics, urbanization in the global south

Abstract

This article discusses longitudinal ethnographic research conducted in Rio de Janeiro from 2011 to 2018. I draw on Foucault’s concept of dispositif and employ his term polyhedron to analyze three different facets of the longitudinal data with the aim of contributing to the debate on everyday urban politics and peripheral urbanization: (1) genealogies of the so-called favela problem; (2) residents' everyday experiences and practices related to space and tactics; and (3) the socio-spatial aspects of citizenship. These sides are all highly relevant in understanding the everyday experiences of residents living in a “pacified” favela over time.


Although residents tended to emphasize the positive aspects of implementing UPPs (Police Pacification Units) and the “pacification-programme” during its first years, the analysis reveals that inhabitants were living through multi-faceted and changing relationships encompassing power, negotiation, displacement, everyday uncertainty, and resistance in the context of increased urban militarization. I argue that the analytic form of the polyhedron in combination with longitudinal ethnography allows for reflection on critical intersections and the constant changes of spatial strategies, everyday practices and tactics, and how actual people living in the city contribute to the shaping and re-shaping of new forms within the polyhedron of powers, interfacing with urban regeneration and (in)security politics.

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Published
2019-12-16
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