Postcards from RioFavelas and the Contested Geographies of Citizenship

Postcards from RioFavelas and the Contested Geographies of Citizenship

Kátia da Costa Bezerra

Print publication date: 2018

ISBN: 9780823276547

Publisher: Fordham University Press

Abstract

Postcards from Rio examines the complex interconnections between notions of citizenship and space in the works of photographers and video makers. It dialogues with a large body of scholarship on Rio de Janeiro and its favelas in particular. Only that, in this case, the point of departure is a cultural production that, coming from the peripheries, reconfigures dominant images of the favelas, their residents, and the city itself. These new mediators are mostly young people of the favelas, whose daily practices are used as the lens through which they contest stigmatized images of favelas. This cultural production lays the foundation for an aesthetic of representation involved in the appropriation and rewriting of the city as part of a process of political resistance and affirmation of difference. The book also discusses the centrality of favelas in the marketing and branding of the city as a strategy to attract external investors and tourists. The cultural productions analysed here discuss the impacts and priorities of the urban interventions on the sphere of the individual and the collectively. They also denounce the key role played by race in a logic characterized by models of exclusion and discrimination that structure the social and spatial organization of the city. The city then emerges as political space where a multiplicity of interests and urban policies are intertwined with demands for more inclusive forms of governance—certainly a form of citizenship that promotes inclusion, nondiscrimination, equal treatment, and the right to have a say over the city’s future.