Pacifying the public sphere : an analysis of inequality, discourse and legitimacy in the context of the Pacifying Police Units (UPPs)
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In the present thesis I analyse the pacifying Police Units (UPPs) of Rio de Janeiro. In doing this I focus on the aim of bringing citizenship and rights to the residents of Rio de Janeiro’s favelas. I argue that the lack of participation in the process of formulation and implementation of the program by its beneficiaries has a number of consequences for its legitimacy and efficiency. Due to this lack of participation by favela residents as socially constituted legal subjects, that is, citizens, combined with a lean normative structure, the implementation of the program becomes guided by external interests as well as social and discursive categories that represent the favelas as sources of risk and danger, and the favela residents as simultaneously sources of danger and risk on one hand, and victims of the drug lords and social and historical injustices, on the other hand. These discursively constructed external categories have the consequences of stripping the favela residents of agency and making the implementation of the program have the character of a controlling and normalizing intervention. Thus, the benefits brought by the program in terms of the fulfilment of some civil and social rights have more of a character of privileges. For the abovementioned reasons, I argue that they have not, so far, succeeded in creating the conditions for an inclusive public sphere where the construction of citizenship and the claim for rights can take place.