Emergent Police States. Racialized Pacification and Police Moralism from Rio’s Favelas to Bolsonaro
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionConflict and Society - Advances in Research. 2020, 6 (1), 86–107. 10.3167/arcs.2020.060106
The Pacifying Police Units, rolled out in Rio de Janeiro ahead of the 2016 Summer Olympics, were part of a police intervention conceived to end the logic of war that characterized the city’s public security policies. As such, it adopted “soft ” strategies of policing aimed at reducing violence and asserting state sovereignty in “pacifi ed” favelas. Drawing on a postcolonial framework of analysis, we argue that these favelas can be understood as sites for experiments in imperial statecraft , where a new set of socio-moral relations that we call police moralism were inscribed onto spaces and bodies. Pacification, in this context, means the reassertion of Brazil’s historical racial order. In our conclusion, we read the moral order implemented in the favelas as a prefiguration of President Jair Bolsonaro’s right-wing authoritarianism on a national scale.