City of fear: everyday life strategies and tactics for coping with street violence in Recife
Konrad Miciukiewicz (Newcastle University)
Paper short abstract:
This study focuses on the discursive conjunctions of space, violence, insecurity, and fear. It is aimed at reconstructing individual narratives of fear, private conceptualizations of violence threats, and the practices of counteracting violence in everyday life in Recife.
Paper long abstract:
Greater Recife is recognized as the most dangerous urban area in Brazil. The capital of Pernambuco, which has the highest murder and favelization rates in the country, has been often described as the city of violence and fear. Middle classes in Recife, with the support from the public authorities turn the whole districts into gated areas. As a consequence Recife consists of the two separated cities - the violent favelas and the militarized gated settlements. The aim of this paper is not, however, to research the phenomenon of gated communities. The areas of organizing space, such as walling the land will be regarded here only as one of the strategies of coping with fear of violence in urban space. This study focuses on the discursive conjunctions of space, violence, insecurity, and fear . The paper comments on the problems of living with violence in Recife with regard to Michel de Certeau´s theory of everyday life. The author brings the view on various strategies and tactics of coping with the fear of violence employed by the inhabitants of Recife - both middle classes and favela dwellers. The study reports on the results of the analysis of 30 in-depth interviews conducted in Recife with three groups of interviewees: inhabitants of gated settlements, favela dwellers and institutional experts. The research was aimed at reconstructing individual narratives of insecurity, private conceptualizations of the threats, and the practices of counteracting violence in everyday life.