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Pope, Nicholas (2023) 'Surviving and dying through the urban frontier: Everyday life, social brokerage and living with militias in Rio de Janeiro’s West Zone.' Urban Studies, 60 (2). pp. 343-359.

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Urban margins are typically depicted as residual, apolitical spaces, where delinquent activities take place. But these spaces, with their own social, economic and political goings-on, are capable of drawing established urban economic and political structures into question. This paper brings together urban frontiers, political settlements and brokerage literatures to analyse how residents muddle through the challenges of everyday life in the urban margins and interact with coercive systems of rule. Through ethnographic fieldwork, this paper focuses on two brokers from neighbouring communities in Rio de Janeiro’s West Zone; exploring how they mediate violent conditions, coercive militia rule and limited resources, and why and how they do so to different effects. By focusing on the spatial and historical dimensions of brokerage, this paper argues that power in Rio de Janeiro’s margins derives not only from coercive control and domination, but also from agency, legitimacy and social energy. By doing so, this paper unearths potential for more radical possibilities for urban development.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: brokerage, militia, urban frontiers, urban violence
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > Department of Development Studies
ISSN: 1360063X
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 04 Apr 2022 11:21

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