Social Exclusion in Rio de Janeiro: the daily struggles of favela residents in Parada de Lucas and the effects of the mega sporting events
Dam, W.D. van
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This thesis focuses on social exclusion in one of Rio de Janeiro’s favelas, namely, Parada de Lucas. Rio de Janeiro, as well as many other cities in Brazil, is typified by favelas, which experience great deals of marginalization, segregation and exclusion. Our approach of social exclusion, inspired by Madanipour et al (1998:22), and Walker and Walker (1997:8), is the dynamic process of being shut out, fully or partially, from the social, economic, political or cultural rights, determining a person’s integration within society. The lack of participation or access within any of these previously mentioned rights, such as the lack of decision making, political opinion, lack of employment and material resources, or the lack of integration to society’s culture, are some examples which determine a person’s social exclusion. The research has been conducted in the leap to the World Cup of 2014 and the Olympic Games of 2016, thus it also analysis the effects of these mega sporting events on processes of social exclusion. The research question, which has been used to study and provide an answer to these processes, is the following: "How do the favela residents of Parada de Lucas, Rio de Janeiro, experience and cope with social exclusion, and, in particular, the exclusion effects of mega sporting events?” Within this definition, we set out four prime dimensions, which we believed to be crucial, namely, livelihood, community and social capital, citizenship, and identity construction. The denial or non-realization of any of these dimensions constitutes social exclusion. Considered a multidimensional process, since it contains different attributes – like income, education, healthcare, employment, etcetera (Byrne 2005:74) – we analyzed how residents in the favela Lucas coped with these processes in five different ways, namely, active coping, venting of emotions, denial, acceptance, and turning to religion, adopting the model of Carver, Scheier and Weintraub (1989). After analyzing all our data, we concluded that the lack of healthcare and education were the main problems within the community. These seem to have a correlation with identity, since many stigmas are placed on favela residents, typifying them as ‘others’. The fact that they come from a favela is enough to socially exclude them and stigmatize them as unworthy or incapable. Yet, although the residents constantly vent their emotions in a negative manner, hardly any active coping strategies are undertaken to change their situation. When it comes to the sporting mega events, the residents aren’t interested enough because it doesn’t affect them directly, nonetheless they feel saddened for those who are affected because they believe that the government is more concerned with the country’s image than with the welfare if its citizens. The only sort of active coping strategies which are undertaken is use of far extending networks to borrow or lend, exchange items, money or advice, or help with problems, in order to ‘get by’.