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Favela: Four Decades of Living on the Edge in Rio de Janeiro Paperback – 1 Sep 2011
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This book deserves its broad public reception. No work on informal settlements can compare with the longitudinal breadth of Favela, and in this respect the work is an invaluable achievement. (Alessandro Angelini, CUNY Graduate Center, Social Forces Journal)
A valuable and vivid study of life as it has been lived by the poor in one of Latin America's biggest cities. (Michael Reid, Times Literary Supplement)
About the Author
Janice Perlman is President and Founder of the Mega-Cities Project. She is also the author of The Myth of Marginality: Urban Poverty and Politics in Rio de Janeiro, which won the C. Wright Mills Award. She lives in Nyack, New York.
Top Customer Reviews
Firstly, though a certain level of righteous anger at the existence of the poverty of the Favelas citizens and sympathy towards their plight is understandable, `Favela' is all too often a one-sided polemic. Perlman criticises anyone outside of the favelas; perhaps most notably the Police whom she brands as both afraid of action, and willing to kill indiscriminately; as well as alleging them to be both failing to stop favela traffickers, and then complaining of the social unfairness when these traffickers are duly arrested by the police.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Perlman also forced me to consider an uncomfortable reality. Favela residents are not the primary consumers of drugs, residents of the barrios (legal neighborhoods) are supporting the trade. They also glamorize favelas, and attend parties in them. Younger generations in the United States are guilty of doing similar things in their glorifications of rap stars and the gangster lifestyle. The highly publicized drug wars in Mexico have shed light on the United States' role in them, in which the United States has been found to be supplying arms to drug cartels. Reading favela has made me wonder: "How we have influenced drug violence and trade in Rio?"
Favela is a must-read for everyone. Its factual analysis combined with personal stories makes it an enjoyable and informative read. I now understand urban issues facing megacities around the world, and am ready to help. I will now be watching the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics with an extra sensitivity to their effects on all the people living in Rio.
* the deft combination of personal stories and data
* the longitudinal and intergenerational aspect
* the clear writing, typically stating the issues at the start of a chapter and then showing how the findings were reached and what they mean
* the ability to handle complexity: people's lives improved over the decades but the stigma of being a favelado remains
* the importance given to variations in individuals and households
* the strong moral core that seems to have guided her research and writing over the decades, which is grounded in real people
* discerning what the people want as opposed to the experts and NGOs, e.g., the simple finding that what people most want is decent reliable dignified work and the harm done when that is not available
* linkage of issues in the communities studied to the rest of the city of Rio, Brazil, and the world.
Her findings square with my own experience decades ago in a barrio of Panama City. Contrary to stereotypes the people worked in the government or the private sector or as self-employed. Like the favelados they were part of the fabric of the city but were stigmatized by where they lived.
The effort by the state of Rio to wrest control of favelas from the drug gangs, as exemplified in the November 2010 assault on two favelas makes the book all the more relevant.