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Introduction

Exceptionalism and Necropolitical Security Dynamics in Olympic Rio de Janeiro

Margit Ystanes and Tomas Salem

Abstract

For more than a decade, urban development in Rio de Janeiro was driven by the urgency of preparations for mega-events such as the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics. During these years, Brazilian authorities used the mega-events to create a state of exception that legitimized a broad range of state security interventions across the city. While Brazilian authorities presented the events as an opportunity to create a modern, dynamic, and socially inclusive city, this special section argues that the security interventions implemented in Rio during the years of Olympic exceptionalism intensified racialized and gendered inequalities and reproduced historical patterns of necropolitical governance that has sought to render black life in Brazil impossible.

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Racialized Governance

The Production and Destruction of Secure Spaces in Olympic Rio de Janeiro

Margit Ystanes and Alexandre Magalhães

Abstract

Based on ethnographic fieldwork, this article explores the eviction of residents from Vila Autódromo, a neighborhood that was decimated as Rio de Janeiro prepared to host the 2016 Summer Olympics. Inspired by Achille Mbembe's notion of “necropolitics” and Mindy Fullilove's concept of “root shock,” we argue that forced evictions in Rio constitute a form of racialized governance. The authorities exclude favela residents from the citizenry security interventions are intended to protect and conceptualize them instead as security risks. This exclusion reflects the spatial expression of racial hierarchies in the city and produces a public security governance that in the case of Vila Autódromo terrorized residents and destroyed life conditions in their community. Racialized governance therefore exacerbates insecurity for large parts of the population.