Citizen’s Video Indicates Police Misconduct after Child’s Death in Metropolitan Rio

A mobile phone video contradicts police statement and serves as evidence in the case of (another) stray bullet killing a child in the State of Rio de Janeiro. The crime happened last Saturday, April 2, in Magé, a city in Rio’s Metropolitan Area.

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Book Review: “Methodological Practices in Social Movement Research” edited by Donatella della Porta

Review originally posted at the LSE Review of Books (December, 2014)

This collection aims to offer a practical, how-to approach to researching social movement studies, with each author writing on a method they have used extensively in their own work. Leonardo Custódio is impressed by the book’s invitation to researchers to reflect about different approaches to studying mass demonstrations, protests, and other forms of collective action for socioeconomic and political change.

Methodological Practices in Social Movement Research. Edited by Donatella della Porta. Oxford University Press. 2014.

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Favela Digital: The Other Side of Technology (Book Review)

Originally posted at the LSE Review of Books website on 13/10/2014.

Sometimes academic books must not be evaluated only according to their conclusions or arguments, but also for the meanings they carry in themselves. That is, to paraphrase Marshall McLuhan, sometimes the book is the message. I am specifically thinking about studies regarding the lifeworlds and actions of people who suffer from and struggle against the consequences of social inequality, such as favela dwellers in Brazil, to take one example. In my own fieldwork, I often hear favela dwellers complain about how most researchers treat them as guinea pigs. In these circumstances, the way academics write books and undertake research can potentially transform a situation of insensitivity and mistrust into a relationship of mutual respect.

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The conflict of middle classes in the Brazilian youth-led protests

Text originally published in Finnish in August, 2013 at the Nuorisotutkimus lehti (3/2013). 

Last June citizens formed the biggest mass demonstrations of Brazil since the end of dictatorship in 1985. Who were the protesters? The consensus between Brazilian and foreign analysts points to the middle class youth. This explanation is problematic. Indeed it is true that most on the streets were young people who had never protested on the streets before. They were mobilized on social networks online to get off the chair and go to the streets with the hope of changing a highly corrupt and unfair country. But the emphasis on middle class is too simplistic.

I contend that characterizing the Brazilian protests solely as the reaction of an apparently homogenous middle class youth gives a wrong sense of unity to a very diverse and conflicting movement. This is the impression I got during my research fieldwork in Rio. I had the chance of looking at the birth, growth and fragmentation of the demonstrations by observing the participation of young activists from favelas (Brazilian kinds of slums) on the protests.

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