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Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute

Ingri Buer

Thesis title

'Everyday agency and community coping mechanisms in the presence of police pacification processes in Rio de Janeiro’s favelas (working title)'

Research

This project aims to harness perspectives from the informal, everyday spaces of peace and conflict. Focusing on the domestic context of Brazil where some favelas exist as margins of the state, the military intervenes against its own citizens and the police take on roles resembling domestic peacekeeping, this research seeks to combine anthropology and peace studies to expand on the concepts of everyday, local agency and community coping mechanisms.

In Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the state government has introduced Police Pacification Units (Unidades de Policia Pacificadora, UPPs) in some of the state’s favelas in attempts to reduce violence and end the wars between drug gangs and the police. Although the program aims to build peace between the favela residents and the police, it is known for using heavy military tactics and police violence in the pacification processes. The UPPs offer a chance to study everyday agency and community coping mechanisms in the presence of violence and top-down pacification processes in a domestic context.

Research questions:

  • How do local actors experience the introduction of UPPs in their communities? Do they perceive that their everyday security situation has improved or worsened since the implementation of the UPPs?
  • How do local actors adapt to the presence of UPPs in their communities?
  • Does the introduction of UPPs require new types of local agency and understanding of the everyday, and if so, what are these new types and why?
  • How do the communities cope with violence and the presence of the UPPs?
  • How do bottom-up, everyday peacebuilding initiatives interact with the top-down peacebuilding of the UPPs?

After unpacking the concepts of the everyday, local agency and community coping mechanisms, this research will include 6-9 months of fieldwork in a few selected favelas, where I will use ethnographically inspired methods to study local perspectives and agency in the presence of violence and top-down peace/ pacification processes. How and where is conflict felt and peace found in the everyday?

Supervisors

  • Professor Roger MacGinty - (Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute – Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies)

Research interests

Critical peace studies, Peace transformation, Everyday peace, Community peace initiatives, Margins of the state, Local legitimacy of peacekeeping and security forces.

Previous education

  • Master of Arts in Peace and Conflict Studies, Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK, 2017
  • Bachelor of Arts in International Affairs (magna cum laude, honours), Lewis and Clark College, Portland OR, US, 2015
  • Lester B. Pearson United World College of the Pacific, International Baccalaureate, Victoria BC, Canada, 2009

Why I’m doing a PhD at HCRI

While doing my masters at HCRI I realized that there is no other place I would rather do a PhD. The interdisciplinary institute offers a unique, creative space for critical research; the perfect place for my research combining peace and conflict studies, sociology and anthropology. I am also honoured to work alongside great colleagues and receive guidance from researchers who are doing ground-breaking research in their fields.

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