Discipline of Sociology & Criminology Seminar Series | Ethnographic intimacies: Calibrating distance and trust during an ethnography of the military police in Brazil
Discipline of Sociology & Criminology Seminar Series
Ethnographic intimacies: Calibrating distance and trust during an ethnography of the military police in Brazil
Speaker: Sara León Spesny (University of Sydney)
Zoom: Email for link and more information – Leah Williams Veazey firstname.lastname@example.org
In this presentation, Sara León Spesny will be speaking about her research with a specialised branch of the military police in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: the pacifying police unit. Founded in 2009, the pacifying police was meant to “take over” favelas controlled by traffic gangs and “bring the State” to these communities. Guided by proximity policing strategies and by narratives of democracy, citizenship and human rights, the police would integrate favelas into the city. This represented a renaissance of the military police, known for its lethality and corruption. Drawing from a thirteen-month ethnography, this project focuses on the ordinary life of a police station. It follows the soldiers, their patrols, and their interactions with residents of the favela. It peeks into the private lives of police agents, their daily struggles, their contradictions, and representations of the community. In this seminar, Sara will focus specifically on the ethnographic relations built within the complex world of policing, where soldiers carry personal and institutional stories, fears, desires, aspirations, and moralities.
Sara León Spesny is an Academic Fellow in the Discipline of Sociology and Criminology at the University of Sydney. Sara is interested in the ways institutions of the State seek to manage, control and discipline historically marginalized populations. Her research has focused on the police, violence, migration (notably undocumented migrants), human rights, postcolonial (dis)order and the urban/symbolic borderlands of the Latin American city.