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  1. 1. Understanding the Brazilian Favelas: Name 1 Understanding the Brazilian Favelas Students Name: Schools Name:
  2. 2. Understanding the Brazilian Favelas:2 Understanding the Brazilian Favelas Introduction ‘Favela’ is a term generally used in Brazil to mean a shanty town. It is a placewhere former slaves with no land and who had no other option lived. Many Braziliancitizens who were poor were forced out of towns and were forced to live in the suburbs.These towns- referred to as bairros africanos or “African neighbourhoods”-expandedover the years as many black slaves were freed. In the 19th century, due to what wasknown as rural exodus, many people moved from the rural areas of Brazil to the cities.Since many people couldn‟t find a decent place to live in, they ended up in Favelas(Perlman, 2006). The term Favela was coined in the late 1800‟s, during that time,veteran soldiers who had served the army in Bahia, were familiar with the Canudos‟sFavela Hill –in reference to Favela, a skin irritating tree- and when they settled in theProvidence hill in Rio de Janeiro, they nicknamed the place Favela Hill and hencecalling a slum Favela for the first time. The Favelas as we know them were formed priorto the dense occupation of cities and the domination of real estate interests. Thesis The characteristic feature of citizens living in the Favelas i.e. the favela of rocinhain Rio de Janeiro is poverty and hunger.The government has failed to call attention tothe problems of poverty and make these issues visible on the national political agenda.Brazilian society had, somehow, avoided the subject throughout the 1980s, and at thelevel of day–to–day perceptions and practices poverty had become a way of life andaccepted. Favelas are built around the edge of the main cities, with time, communities
  3. 3. Understanding the Brazilian Favelas:3form within the favela. In turn, these communities develop an array of social andreligious organizations and they form associations so that they can be able to obtainsuch services as running water and electricity. Drugs and favela have become woveninto a social fabric. The drugs business –especially cocaine- cannot prosper without theexistence of the Favela. The church therefore has got a big part to play to help curbdown this practise. Most of the people living in the Favelas go to church on Sunday andWednesday, they listen to their pastors more than they listen to the residentassociations or their local government outreach workers. The church has helped inbuilding confidence and dignity, and has helped by playing a significant role instabilizing the poor Favelas. The church members in the Favelas help each other in building houses, startingbusinesses and taking care of the sick. In some instances, the pastors have helpedcounsel gang leaders to reduce violence. The church discourages drinking and handlingof illegal drugs, therefore it has helped in counselling individuals associated with thevice to cease altogether. The church has definitely helped in a positive way to deal withissues in the Favelas; however, some of the stands that the church takes have seensome of the underlying issues of the Favelas hard to tackle. For instance, the CatholicChurch discourages the use of birth control measures. This has seen the populationcontinue to spiral beyond control. In addition, the Catholic Church discourages the useof Condoms (it is regarded as a form of birth control), this has made it hard to curb thespread of HIV & AIDS amongst the people living in the Favelas.
  4. 4. Understanding the Brazilian Favelas:4Justification Christianity and especially the Catholic Church enjoy wide support from theinhabitants of Brazil. As a religious obligation, they need to see to it that they use theirinfluence to address the issues surrounding people in the Favelas. Religion togetherwith the government have got a huge part to play, the government has got an obligation–legal obligation- to ensure that all its citizens are equally treated, for it is a governmentof the people, for the people and by the people. The government‟s existence is by virtueof the votes of the whole country including the people in the Favelas; therefore, thegovernment has got an obligation to address issues surrounding the Favelas. Asmentioned earlier, most of the people living in the Favelas spend their time in churches,therefore the church has got their audience and if properly utilised, they can help reducethe vices so rampant in the Favelas. Research Methodology Historical data will be greatly relied upon in the conducting of this research. Thiswill help in understanding the origin of the Favelas. Internet resources will also be reliedupon. They will help in cutting costs that the researcher has to incur in terms oftravelling expenses in order to conduct the research. Other reports surrounding theissue of Favelas and how religion has either helped or worsened the development ofFavelas will be relied upon to help give expert opinions in this subject matter. E-Booksand available library books will also be used to get information on the subject. Importance of the Research
  5. 5. Understanding the Brazilian Favelas:5 Poverty and hunger are crippling issues. The world all over is trying to see howbest it can help kick hunger and poverty out of people‟s daily lives. The history ofFavelas is rooted in these two issues. Therefore it is important to find out how besthunger and poverty can be tackled so that other vices in the Favelas can be curbed.Without tackling these two main issues, then it would become very hard to address theplight of the Favelas effectively. The findings in this research people will be used toeducate people on the origin of the Favelas, the problems surrounding the Favelas,what has been done and what needs to be done to improve the conditions in theFavelas if not eliminating the Favelas altogether. Life in the Favelas has been influentialin modern culture, for instance, some movies like Fast Five have had their stories basedon the lives in the Favelas. Therefore, there is need to upgrade or positively develop theFavelas so that the culture in the Favelas cannot be copied in other parts of the world;especially for the wrong reasons.
  6. 6. Understanding the Brazilian Favelas:6 ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHYAlthaus, R at el. (2007). Another Possible World. Presbyterian Pub Corp. This article gives an overview of how religion came to liberate the oppressed.The Favelas of Brazil in this case are the group which is seen to be oppressed andforgotten even by their government. Althaus asserts that liberation theologies are bornfrom the struggles of the poor and the oppressed. Liberation theology was born uponhearing the cry of the oppressed and contributors believe that another world is possiblewhere justice reigns. The researcher will use this book to try and explain why religionhas got a part to play in the positive development of the Favelas.Arias, E. (2006), Criminal Gangs, Dispute Resolution, and Identity in Rio de JaneirosFavelas. The Myth of Personal Security. American Politics & Society, Winter, Vol. 48Issue 4, p 53–81. This article talks about the way drug traffickers resolve disputes and maintainorder in the Favelas of Rio de Janeiro. Many scholars who have researched this areahave argued that drug traffickers play a major role in controlling crimes and violence aswell as resolving conflicts in Rio de Janeiro. This makes the Favela residents have asense of personal security in a neighbourhood which is dominated by violence. Thisarticle will help the researcher to identify the real cause of drug trafficking and how thiscontributes to the violence or has curbed violence and poverty in the Favelas of Brazil. Itwill also help the researcher to draw conclusions and inferences based on the findingsin this book.
  7. 7. Understanding the Brazilian Favelas:7Berryman, P. (2002). Religion in the Megacity: Catholic and Protestant Portraits fromLatin America. Orbis Books. Berryman in his book presents Catholic and Protestant portraits from LatinAmerica describing Roman Catholic, historical Protestant and Pentecostal communitiesin two Latin America megacities, namely; Sao Paulo, Brazil and Caracas. Pentecostaland evangelical communities have largely grown and have a great influence in theentire world and in these two cities in particular. They were overtaking the Catholics inpopularity and it was seen like the whole of Latin America was going Protestant andtherefore the inhabitants felt that there was a need to integrate and learn from oneanother. This book will be of great help to the researcher in understanding the history ofreligion in the Favelas. Furthermore, the researcher will draw heavily from this book tofind out whether the integration of these dominations had an impact on the lives of theFavelas in Brazil.Perlman, J. E. (2006).The Metamorphosis of Marginality: Four Generations in theFavelas of Rio De Janeiro. The Annals of the American Academy of Political and SocialScience.606 Annals This article is an overview of a four generational study of residents in threeshanty towns (Favelas) in Rio de Janeiro from 1968-2003. It shows how marginalizationof urban people has deepened over the past thirty five years. This was contributed bymassive drug related violence, the failure of democracy to deliver on its promise, theincrease in unemployment and the inability to translate educational knowledge to
  8. 8. Understanding the Brazilian Favelas:8occupational gain. Despite improvement in consumption of collective urban services,household goods and schooling, few have been successful in moving into goodneighbourhoods or even getting a decent job. Gang violence in these Favelas createsfear which makes people unable to work freely. They therefore become unproductive,thereby diminishing the social capital of the society. But still the communities in theseFavelas have hopes that their lives will improve in future. This book will lead theresearcher into understanding the type of lives these people live and what forced theminto this kind of life.Sharon, D. (2007). Shaking the Gates of Hell: Faith-Led Resistance to CorporateGlobalization. Fortress Press. This book is an eye opening look at spiritually motivated action against corporateglobalization. It offers an incisive overview and theological analysis of global economicinstitutions and their effects. It also reveals the larger cultural and social import ofglobalization. It also gives reports, stories of nonviolent resistance to corporateglobalization and gives examples of sustainable alternatives. Humanity faces a livinghell of widespread poverty, social upheaval, repression, war, ecological collapse, andhuman misery. The destructive forces at work in this crisis are not abstract orirreversible, but emerge from actual institutions that hold political, economic, and militarypower. This book presents an overview of the workings of the institutional "Powers" thatmake up the system of corporate globalization, including transnational corporations,rule-making bureaucracies such as the IMF, World Bank, and WTO, and enforcementestablishments such as the US military/industrial complex. It suggests ways that people
  9. 9. Understanding the Brazilian Favelas:9of faith can join with others to "shake the gates of hell," resisting the horror of a barren,violent, and poisoned future, while developing viable alternatives to help build apeaceful, just, and sustainable world. Therefore the researcher will use this book to findout how people through coming together and „shaking the gates of hell‟, can stopviolence and live peacefully in the Favelas. The importance of peaceful living cannot beundermined because, under peaceful conditions, investment shoots or “germinates”from investment seeds which have long been planted by individuals.Burdick, J. (1993) Looking for God in Brazil: The Progressive Catholic Church in UrbanBrazil’s Religious Arena. Illustrated Edition. University of California Press. For a generation, the Catholic Church in Brazil has enjoyed international renownas one of the most progressive social forces in Latin America. The Churchs creation ofChristian Base Communities (CEBs), groups of Catholics who learn to read the Bible asa call for social justice, has been widely hailed. Still, in recent years it has becomeincreasingly clear that the CEBs are lagging far behind the explosive growth of Brazilstwo other major national religious movements--Pentecostalism and Afro-BrazilianUmbanda. On the basis of his extensive fieldwork in Rio de Janeiro, including detailedlife histories of women, blacks, youths, and the marginal poor, the author of the bookmakes us understand why the Radical Catholic Church is losing. From these reasons,the researcher will be able to give a way forward in addressing the weaknessespresented and be able to chart a way forward for the catholic church t revive its statureand consequently the useful programs it had set in place.
  10. 10. Understanding the Brazilian Favelas:10Burdick, John. & Hewitt, W. E., (Eds). (2000). The church at the grassroots in LatinAmerica: perspective on thirty Years of activism. Praeger. Over the past 30 years the liberationist Catholic Church has had a major impacton Latin American society and culture. This edited volume offers both a carefulassessment of the Churchs effects on the social, cultural, and political landscape ofLatin America, and an analysis of the factors contributing to the liberationist Churchsrecent marginalization-including the fragmentation of the Left, the fall of authoritarianregimes, and the rise of powerful competitors in the religious marketplace. Moving awayfrom an exclusive focus on leaders, clergy, and institutional elites, the contributorsanalyze the local, grassroots level and provide detailed empirical accounts of the day-to-day reality of progressive movements within the Church. Case studies from Brazil,Ecuador, Chile, Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Nicaragua it illustrates theChurchs impact on politics, labour and land issues, race and gender relations,leadership, and neighbourhood organizations, which have been instrumental in thedevelopment of Favelas. The findings in this book will help the researcher understandthe influence religion has had on the topics that will be of help in positively influencingthe development of Favelas in Brazil.Rowland, C. (Ed). The Cambridge Companion to Liberation Theology. 2nd ed.Cambridge University Press. Liberation theology is widely referred to in discussions of politics and religion butnot always adequately understood. This book brings the story of the movements
  11. 11. Understanding the Brazilian Favelas:11continuing importance and impact up to date. In the light of a more conservative ethosin Roman Catholicism, and in theology generally, liberation theology is often said tohave been an intellectual movement tied to a particular period of ecumenical andpolitical theology. This book will be important to the researcher as it contains essays thatindicate its continuing importance in different contexts which will enable the researcherlocate its distinctive intellectual ethos within the evolving contextual and culturalconcerns of theology and religious studies. The case study of Brazil in Chapter Seven(7) - The origins and character of the base ecclesial community: a Brazilian perspective-will be of more importance to the researcher.