Living with Insecurity in a Brazilian Favela, Living with Insecurity in a Brazilian Favela, 081356543X, 0-8135-6543-X, 978-0-8135-6543-9, 9780813565439, , , Living with Insecurity in a Brazilian Favela, 0813565448, 0-8135-6544-8, 978-0-8135-6544-6, 9780813565446, , , Living with Insecurity in a Brazilian Favela, 0813565456, 0-8135-6545-6, 978-0-8135-6545-3, 9780813565453, , , Living with Insecurity in a Brazilian Favela, 0813573939, 0-8135-7393-9, 978-0-8135-7393-9, 9780813573939,
Living with Insecurity in a Brazilian Favela

Urban Violence and Daily Life
R. Ben Penglase (Author)
224 pages, 6 x 9
Paper, September 2014 $26.95   ADD TO CART
Cloth, September 2014 $80.00   ADD TO CART
Web PDF, September 2014 $26.95   EBOOK VERSION AVAILABLE
epub, September 2014 $26.95   EBOOK VERSION AVAILABLE
Subject Area:
Anthropology, Latin American Studies


The residents of Caxambu, a squatter neighborhood in Rio de Janeiro, live in a state of insecurity as they face urban violence. Living with Insecurity in a Brazilian Favela examines how inequality, racism, drug trafficking, police brutality, and gang activities affect the daily lives of the people of Caxambu.  Some Brazilians see these communities, known as favelas, as centers of drug trafficking that exist beyond the control of the state and threaten the rest of the city. For other Brazilians, favelas are symbols of economic inequality and racial exclusion. Ben Penglase’s ethnography goes beyond these perspectives to look at how the people of Caxambu themselves experience violence. 

Although the favela is often seen as a war zone, the residents are linked to each other through bonds of kinship and friendship. In addition, residents often take pride in homes and public spaces that they have built and used over generations. Penglase notes that despite poverty, their lives are not completely defined by illegal violence or deprivation. He argues that urban violence and a larger context of inequality create a social world that is deeply contradictory and ambivalent. The unpredictability and instability of daily experiences result in disagreements and tensions, but the residents also experience their neighborhood as a place of social intimacy. As a result, the social world of the neighborhood is both a place of danger and safety.  


"Penglase draws the reader's gaze toward dimensions of urban violence often eclipsed by accounts of dramatic events. In doing so, he crafts a compelling ethnography that will surely become required reading for students and scholars interested in violence, urban space, and contemporary Latin America."
—American Anthropologist

"This is a vibrant and engaging book that provides valuable insights on violence, social exclusion, and daily life on the urban margins in Brazil and elsewhere."
—Daniel M. Goldstein, author of Outlawed: Between Security and Rights in a Bolivian City

Author / Editor Bio

R. BEN PENGLASE is an associate professor of anthropology and Latin American studies at Loyola University, Chicago.  

Table Of Contents


1          “To Live Here You Have to Know How to Live”

2          “Now You Know What It’s Like”: Ethnography in a State of (In)security

3          A Familiar Hillside and Dangerous Intimates

4          Tubarão and Seu Lázaro’s Dog: Drug-Traffickers and Abnormalization

5          “The Men Are in the Area”: Police, Race, and Place

6          Conclusion: “It was Here That Estella Was Shot”



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