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Entrepreneurial Governance: Neoliberal Modernization

Part of the The Latin American Studies Book Series book series (LASBS)


In this article, it is argued that several changes are underway in the city of Rio de Janeiro related to what has been called neoliberal entrepreneurial governance, involving a process of creative destruction of urban structures, institutional arrangements for the management, and regulation of urban space. In particular, one must consider the context of the city’s preparation to receive two sports mega-events, the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympic Games. Supported by a coalition of economic, political, and social interests, this project seems to hit specifically the urban configuration of certain areas, notably Barra da Tijuca, the Port Area and the South Zone, pointing toward the deepening of socio-spatial inequalities in the city of Rio de Janeiro. In this sense, one can say that the current changes go toward something that might be called neoliberal modernization.


  • Neoliberal city
  • Entrepreneurial governance
  • Neoliberal urbanization
  • Urban conflicts
  • Sports mega-events

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  • DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-51899-2_15
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  1. 1.

    The notion of urban setting is used to express a specific spatial configuration, as defined by Harvey (2013), of an arrangement involving productive forces and social relations in a given space.

  2. 2.

    David Harvey names “embedded liberalism” the existing policies before neoliberalism (Harvey 2008).

  3. 3.

    It is understood, with Harvey (2008, p. 2), that “(…) Neoliberalism is in the first instance, a theory of economic policy practices that states that human well-being can best be promoted through the maximization of entrepreneurial freedoms within an institutional framework characterized by private property rights, individual liberty, free markets and free trade. The state's role is to create and preserve an appropriate institutional framework for such practices.” In this sense, neoliberalization as a process would express a set of practices aimed at the commodification of cities.

  4. 4.

    Nunes (2003, p. 17) defines political grammars as “(…) institutionalized patterns of relations (…) that structure the relationship between society and formal institutions (…).” And understands that only the universalism of procedures “(…) clearly reflects the logic of the modern capitalist market.”

  5. 5.

    Centrality is defined here as the hubs of business and economic importance that exert an influence on a particular surrounding area, which can be considered as its periphery. In this sense, centrality refers to a command role on capital accumulation processes and social reproduction, and is associated with the intensity of flows of money, goods, and people. In addition, the central areas are distinguished by their multifunctionality, focusing, among others, trade and business centers, public and private management activities, schools and networks of universities, health institutions, transport services, tourist areas and cultural centers and premium residential areas (Corrêa 1995; Gluszevicz and Martins 2013).

  6. 6.

    BRT—Bus Rapid Transit (Ônibus de Trânsito Rápido)—High speed bus system, with separated and exclusive lanes.

  7. 7.

    BRS—Bus Rapid Service (Ônibus de Serviço Rápido).

  8. 8.

    VLT—acronym in Portuguese: Veículo Leve sobre Trilhos. In English, Light Rail Vehicle (LRV); a newly established tram system.

  9. 9.

    Cf. note n. 8.

  10. 10.

    1 m2 = 10.7639 ft2.

  11. 11.

    The favela complex of Pavão-Pavãozinho and Cantagalo benefited from works of the Growth Acceleration Program (Programa de Aceleração ao Crescimento—PAC), launched in 2008, which carried out several works of urbanization and sanitation, resettled residents in new housing and implemented an elevator to facilitate access of the residents with a lookout at the top of the favela. The Santa Marta hill has also benefited from the PAC urbanization works, after installation of the first Pacifying Police Unit (UPP) in December 2009.

  12. 12.

    Urban Development Company of the Port Region of Rio de Janeiro (Companhia de Desenvolvimento Urbano da Região do Porto do Rio de Janeiro—CDURP).

  13. 13.

    Winning bidding consortium composed of the following construction companies: OAS LTDA, Norberto Odebrecht Brasil S.A. and Carioca Christiani-Nielsen Engenharia S.A.

  14. 14.

    The study by Guimarães (2015) elucidates some of the mechanisms through which old and new practices are combined in the case of neoliberal modernization of Barra da Tijuca.


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Correspondence to Orlando Alves dos Santos Junior .

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dos Santos Junior, O.A. (2017). Entrepreneurial Governance: Neoliberal Modernization. In: de Queiroz Ribeiro, L. (eds) Urban Transformations in Rio de Janeiro. The Latin American Studies Book Series. Springer, Cham.

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