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Police Places: Ethnographic Notes About Other Police Territorialities in the Suburbs of Rio de Janeiro

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posted on 2023-09-05, 12:13 authored by Eduardo de Oliveira Rodrigues

Abstract One of the biggest challenges in researching the practices of any police institution is finding a place from which it is possible to ethnographically observe and thus describe them, taking into account the methodological restrictions one encounters in accessing certain dimensions of police work. Faced with this problem, the present article aims to debate what I call “police places”: an analytical category used to describe other dimensions of police territoriality in the suburbs of Rio de Janeiro. Based on a description of a walk I took with a young man interested in joining the military police, I argue that the informal presence of agents in his neighborhood implies another type of spatial control. The article shows that, from the perspective of the population of these places, the police are understood to be an important “center of power” that attracts a series of young people involved in precarious contexts to the police career.

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