“It could be anyone, but…”: Othering in a context of crime, fear and segregation in São Paulo.
Berge, S.M. van den
MetadataShow full item record
The middle and upper classes in São Paulo have developed an array of strategies to cope with their fear of becoming a victim of crime and violence, the most radical being the increasing with¬drawal from public space behind physical and guarded barriers. Although several forms of socio-spatial segregation exist, the most radical one perhaps is residential segregation, in the form of gated communities. However, the fear people feel may be disproportionate to the reality of crime and violence in contemporary São Paulo. The discourse of fear, which the enormous rise in vio¬lent crime in the 1980s and 1990s has given rise to, has been strongly influenced by the media, but has also influenced the image people have of what they perceive as the dangerous Other. Never¬theless, although rates of violence have dropped sharply in São Paulo since the turn of the century, perceived levels of danger continue high. This thesis argues that the image of the dange¬rous Other is not only about fear caused by contemporary levels of crime or violence, and has also been influenced by stereotyped ideas about the Other that stem from before the rise in vio¬lent crime. Lacking nuanced information due to limited social interaction contributes to the per¬sistence of stereotyped images, contributing to a fear of the Other.