How urban dwellers experience the city – in terms of mobility, rights, and leisure – depends on where they are and who they are. ‘“Urban Brazil” is first and foremost a landscape of social exclusion’ (Fernandes and Valença 2001), with its major cities renowned for their extreme inequality. The resulting social divisions manifest themselves in physical spaces. The residents of the favelas of Rio de Janeiro therefore have to negotiate a range of boundaries that crisscross their lives on a daily basis. In contrast to the more ideological boundaries explored in subsequent chapters, this chapter explores relatively tangible, physical boundaries, between formal areas of the city and the informal settlements, or favelas, and between areas controlled by rival parallel powers – whether gangs or militia groups. Despite their apparently physical aspect, these physical boundaries are still actively constructed by different agents, including the state and other armed actors, as well as by the residents themselves.
KeywordsInformal Settlement Gang Member Armed Actor Gated Community Territorial Boundary
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