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Type Journal Article - Revista Estudos de Política
Title The Armed Forces as security agency and the civil-military relationship in Brazil
Volume 1
Issue 2
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2013
Page numbers 30-49
Brazil is facing a high level of violence that is particularly linked to urban spaces where
statehood is not completed and state authorities do not provide protection from crime.
Particularly in Rio de Janeiro, violence originating in favelas has spilled out to other parts
of the city. As a result, the outside population increasingly supports a security-first
approach in order to solve this problem (GAY, 2009, p. 37). The growing “securitization of
the city” (MUGGAH; SAVAGE, 2012, p. 3) and the perception of these localities by the outside
world is best illustrated by WILLIAMS (2010, p. 40): “In thinking about spaces and security (…),
the danger flows out of its origin or locus in zones characterized by turbulence (…) to zones of
order and stability”. As the country is going to host major sports events like the Football World
Cup and Olympic Games in the coming years, federal and state governments are desperately
seeking solutions for the security situation in order to be able to guarantee safety for citizens as
well as visitors. For this, the deployment of Armed Forces in public security appears to be an
efficient solution. Brazilian Armed Forces therefore engage in neighbourhoods that are “outside
the de facto control of public security forces” (MUGGAH; SAVAGE 2012: 6) with the task of
transforming them into spaces where the sovereignty of the state, especially the monopoly on
violence, is valid. Nevertheless, this implies a trade-off between efficient governing in the short
term and legitimate governing in the long run. The country faces the paradoxical situation that the
democratic government delegates power to “authoritarian enclaves” (ZAVERUCHA, 2008, p. 130,
own translation) who may prevent a further consolidation of the country´s democracy in order to
conquer ´exclaves´ of statehood.

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