235 - http://eth.sagepub.com Ethnography DOI:...

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Unformatted text preview: http://eth.sagepub.com Ethnography DOI: 10.1177/146613802401092742 2002; 3; 235 Ethnography Teresa P.R. Caldeira The paradox of police violence in democratic Brazil http://eth.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/3/3/235 The online version of this article can be found at: Published by: http://www.sagepublications.com can be found at: Ethnography Additional services and information for http://eth.sagepub.com/cgi/alerts Email Alerts: http://eth.sagepub.com/subscriptions Subscriptions: http://www.sagepub.com/journalsReprints.nav Reprints: http://www.sagepub.co.uk/journalsPermissions.nav Permissions: http://eth.sagepub.com/cgi/content/refs/3/3/235 Citations at EMORY UNIV on March 18, 2010 http://eth.sagepub.com Downloaded from The paradox of police violence in democratic Brazil Teresa P.R. Caldeira University of California, Irvine, USA University of So Paulo, Brazil A B S T R A C T This article addresses some of the main challenges to the democratic reform of police institutions in Brazil, particularly in So Paulo. It identifies and explores patterns of police abuse through an analysis of a famous kidnapping together with the field observations, interviews and available statistical evidence. It analyses the sources and logic of popular support for a violent police, which coexists with a negative evaluation of the police and a high victimization of working-class people. It argues that the roots of this paradox are found in a long history of state disrespect for civil rights, in particular poor peoples rights, and in a deep disbelief in the fairness of the justice system and its ability to function without bias. K E Y W O R D S police violence, kidnapping, crime, democratization, urban inquality, Brazil I wish the Esquadro da Morte [a police Death Squad] still existed. The Esquadro da Morte only kill. This is justice done by ones own hands. I think this should still exist. Its necessary to take justice in ones own hands, but the people who should do this should be the police, the authorities them- selves, not us. Why should we get a guy and kill him? What do we pay taxes for? For this, to be protected. . . . It is not worth it for us to lynch, they [the police] should have the right, they have the duty, because we pay taxes for graphy Copyright 2002 SAGE Publications (London, Thousand Oaks, CA and New Delhi) Vol 3(3): 235263[14661381(200209)3:3;235263;026513] A R T I C L E at EMORY UNIV on March 18, 2010 http://eth.sagepub.com Downloaded from this. . . . The law must be this one: if you kill, you die. (Office assistant, 18, resident of the periphery of So Paulo) Transforming the police into a democratic institution is certainly one of the main challenges faced by new democracies. Controlling police abuses and increasing the respect for citizens rights are major issues for democracies, old and new. But as the case of Brazil demonstrates, in new democracies with a long history of authoritarianism, and in which the police are accus-...
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This note was uploaded on 03/30/2010 for the course LATIN AMER LAC SOC taught by Professor Leighpayne during the Winter '10 term at Oxford University.

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235 - http://eth.sagepub.com Ethnography DOI:...

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