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Remaking Rio de Janeiro through "favela integration": the politics of mobility and state space

Landesman, Tucker (2016) Remaking Rio de Janeiro through "favela integration": the politics of mobility and state space. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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Identification Number: 10.21953/lse.53ivv2ue6a0v


This thesis examines how states develop and implement urban planning and governance policies and programmes in response to segregation and socio-spatial inequalities. Rio de Janeiro has long been constructed as both a “marvellous city” and as strictly “divided” between the so-called formal city and the self-built favelas that developed into “consolidated” neighbourhoods. While never granted full legal tenure and continuously denied basic rights as guaranteed in the 1988 “Citizens’ Constitution,” public policy in the late twentieth century recognised the permanence of the favelas and state interventions evolved from demolishing to “upgrading.” Since the early 2000s, the municipal, state-province, and federal governments have all pursued objectives to “integrate” the favelas. These include participatory urban planning interventions, militarised occupation and policing of favelas, implantation of social and cultural infrastructure, and technocratic good-governance projects. I argue that these combined efforts amount to a new paradigm of “favela integration,” and I seek to understand how “favela integration” is produced and contested; in what ways state interventions meant to “integrate” the favelas transform urban space; and how techniques of urban planning and governance establish favela space as legitimate and constitutive of the city. Based on 18 months of mixed-method qualitative fieldwork, and drawing on the literatures of landscape and critical mobilities, I argue that “favela integration” is hegemonically defined through state facilitation and regulation of flows of people, goods, and services in and out of the favelas. Discursively produced based on liberal notions of citizenship and favela residents’ right to the city, I use critical mobilities analysis to reveal how “favela integration” reproduces spatial inequalities. I then consider the paradigm as a state spatial strategy of territory. I build on contemporary theories of state space and territory as effect and consider how planning, technocratic governance, and infrastructure employ social technologies to bridge the favela/city binary and produce the “integrated city.” I engage with literature concerning state spatiality under neoliberalism to examine how “favela integration” follows hegemonic socio-economic ideology, but I argue for a nuanced understanding of the state and discuss how such ideology is contested at various scales.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2016 Tucker Landesman
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
Sets: Departments > Geography and Environment
Supervisor: Jones, Gareth A.

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