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Perlman favela

Favela: Four Decades of Living on the Edge in Rio de Janeiro and The Myth of Marginality: Urban Poverty and Politics in Rio de Janeiro


Oxford University Press, New York; University of California Press, Berkeley



In The Myth of Marginality Perlman dismantles a long-standing myth of squatter settlements or shantytowns as marginal spaces. Fieldwork from three areas of Rio de Janeiro—the favela of Catacumba in Rio’s South Zone, the favela of Nova Brasília in the North Zone, and Duque de Caxias, a municipality in the Baixada Fluminense region—portray communities that form an essential part of the urban economy and are “tightly integrated [into society], albeit in an asymmetrical manner.” In Favela, Perlman revisits these same neighborhoods thirty years later to interview residents and community leaders who participated in her original study as well as their children and grandchildren. Combining anecdotes and interviews with quantitative and survey data, the book reflects on the trajectory of the residents’ lives against a larger backdrop of social, economic, and architectural change.

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