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Update

April 4, 2009

We’ve been so busy these past two days that I have not had time to update the blog with all the visits and interviews we have been doing. I will try to do so over the weekend… Just to summarise, we’ve been to another favela, Morro dos Prazeres and met with the leader of the community association; the HQs of the Policia Civil and the Guarda Municipal. We visited the State Secretariat for Public Security twice, once to talk to people from the office of the Secretary, and once to visit the CCTV control room and talk to the director. And finally we talked to two politicians from different eras – the ex-Governor, and also Security Minister under Leonel Brisola, lawyer and academic, Nilo Batista (and also his wife, sociologist, Vera Malaguti Batista) and Deputado Estaduel, Alessandro Mollon, a leading campaigner for human rights and real public security in the state legislature and various members of his team.

Next week, on Monday, we will be going back to Morro Santa Marta to talk to BOPE Commandante Priscilla; and then I will be spending the rest of the day between the neighbourhood association of wealthy Laranjeiras and that of a nearby favela, also ‘pacified’, Tavares de Bastos, and its BOPE battalion. On Tuesday I am giving a talk on my project at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, and hopefully on Wednesday or Thursday morning we might just get to talk to Major Eduardo Paes, and someone from the state’s Ministry of Cities, as well as the already fixed appointment with the influential NGO, Viva Rio.

Then it’s Easter and I have to go home… I have to come back. I feel like I have barely started here. I need to do more interviews at national level, and the survey work I was hoping to do has been squeezed out by the interview schedule. In any case, the level of comparative study I am doing means I cannot explore, literally and metaphorically, all the avenues and back-alleys that I would like. And there is so much going on here that is interesting and important in terms of the complex relationships around social justice, crime and disorder, (in)security, surveillance and social control.

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