Crime and plural orders in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Enrique Desmond Arias*, Nicholas Barnes

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

80 Citations (Scopus)


For the past generation scholars have written about violence, crime, and conflict in Rio de Janeiro’s favelas. While this scholarship has developed an extensive understanding of the problem of violence and criminal control of the city’s favelas it has not yet effectively engaged in a discussion of the implications of differential types of crime creating local security orders. Building on research in two different city regions in Rio de Janeiro, this article examines how different types of crime groups emerge from varied forms of social disorganization and contribute to particular models of social control and order. The article examines the varying relationships and exchanges built by drug gangs in Rio de Janeiro’s Zona Norte (Northern Zone) and milícias in the city’s Zona Oeste (Western Zone). The actions of these criminal organizations emerge from and promote orders that affect the lived political, social, and economic experiences of residents of favelas.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)448-465
Number of pages18
JournalCurrent Sociology
Issue number3
Early online date13 Oct 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2017


  • Brazil
  • Crime
  • Favelas
  • Order
  • Politics
  • Rio de Janeiro
  • Social disorganization
  • Violence


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