Montevideo: Between violence and urban fragmentation

Montevideo: Between violence and urban fragmentation

Uruguay currently suffers from the highest levels of insecurity and crime in the country’s recent history. Data prior to the 2002 economic crisis shows that structural factors such as unemployment and poverty were closely associated with the increase in crime in the period 1986-2002. However, between 2004 and 2015, Uruguay has made progress in the social and economic dimensions and has reduced its levels of poverty and inequality measured in real terms. This, however, happened alongside an increase in crime rates. The link between structural variables and crime seems not to be as linear as it had been claimed and is questioned both by academics and policymakers. This article argues that other causes – namely, drug trafficking and urban fragmentation – have influenced the increase of crime, and specifically of homicides, in Uruguay. ...

Previous Posts

  • Montevideo: Between violence and urban fragmentation
    Uruguay currently suffers from the highest levels of insecurity and crime in the country’s recent history. Data prior to the 2002 economic crisis shows that structural factors such as unemployment and poverty were closely associated with the increase in crime in the period 1986-2002. However, between 2004 and 2015, Uruguay has made progress in the social and economic dimensions and has reduced its levels of poverty and inequality measured in real terms. This, however, happened alongside an increase in crime rates. The link between structural variables and crime seems not to be as linear as it had been claimed and is questioned both by academics and policymakers. This article argues that other causes – namely, drug trafficking and urban fragmentation – have influenced the increase of crime, and specifically of homicides, in Uruguay.
  • Rule, support and buy: Making sense of Mafia strategies in the COVID-19 aftermath
    While COVID-19 continues to spread across the world, analysts and scholars grow increasingly more focused on the so-called “phase 2” of the pandemic: the one of reopening after the lockdown period. What we surely know so far about phase 2 is that it will be characterised by a serious economic crisis (similar in impact to the 1929 Great Depression, according to some) and, potentially, by a consequent criminal infiltration in the formal economy. Italy finds itself under the spotlight not only as one of the worst hit countries by the health crisis itself, but also as the homeland of what is arguably one of the oldest criminal organisations in the history of humankind: the Mafias. In this post, I will analyse the role of Mafias in the actual crisis and outline its potential development in the aftermath of the pandemic, with an exclusive focus on Mafias’ activities in Italy.
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  • Urban Violence and Southern Theory During the Pandemic
    by Roxana Pessoa Cavalcanti 1 May 2020 We are in the middle of a global pandemic. It is a sunny day here in the UK but the emotions around us are disjointed from the beauty of spring: fear, panic, sadness and anxiety mixed with a dose of hope. My children are being ‘home-schooled’ during the […]
  • Why Coronavirus gives organized crime momentum to shine and flourish
    In late March 2020, amidst the global crisis caused by the spread of the novel coronavirus COVID-19, organized crime groups began to make headlines as caring social actors in their communities. In Southern Italy, local mafias acted as alternative social welfare-providers by financially supporting businesses that faced bankruptcy caused by Coronavirus-related lockdowns and by providing free groceries to communities. In several Brazilian favelas, gangs and militias took matters into their own hands, spreading information on curfews and other restrictions via social media and patrolling the streets to ensure compliance with the curfew.
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    Experts are wondering how the implementation of curfews and lockdowns around the world will affect criminal governance in countries with a persistent presence of organised crime. In the case of Mexico, the effects are yet to be seen, but some events are signalling that criminal governance may strengthen in some regions of the country.
  • Prison Violence as Urban Violence
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  • Contesting Peace in the Postwar City
    By Ivan Gusic 26 February 2020 Postwar cities – i.e. cities which no longer experience war yet are still socio-politically contested – tend to be one of the most entrenched and volatile flash-points when societies transition from war to peace. These cities are often dangerous for citizens to live in; they tend to function either […]
  • Thomas Abt – a Bold New Plan for Peace in the Streets
    An interview with Thomas Abt, author of Bleeding Out: The Devastating Consequences of Urban Violence – and a Bold New Plan for Peace in the Streets.
  • Navigating Dahiyeh: Security in Lebanon’s Southern Suburbs
    By Kelly Stedem. In this piece, I show how Hizbullah polices its neighborhoods, providing security and protection to local residents, while simultaneously undermining the role of the state in providing such security services. Insights into the local provision of policing are based on eight months of fieldwork conducted between 2017 and 2019, as well as observations made while working for local NGOs in South Beirut between 2011 and 2014.
  • Medicalizing Conflict – The Risks of Public Health-Based Approaches to Conflict Resolution
    By Malte Riemann and Norma Rossi 10 November 2019 Medical approaches to violence prevention are progressively being adopted by various governmental and non-governmental actors around the globe. For example, the World Health Organization has made violence ‘a public health priority’ and centered its global strategy for violence prevention around the public health model; the World […]
  • Chile: A tale of two countries
    By Lucía Dammert. Why have the Chileans taken to the streets? Chile has been a model for many Latin American countries. After 17 years of a cruel dictatorship, the Chilean political elite developed a democratic process that lowered poverty rates, consolidated economic growth and modernized urban infrastructure. However, during democratization the so-called
  • Rage Against the Sectarian Machine
    By Sara Fregonese. Lebanon’s protesters have looked beyond sectarianism. Now the state is closing its ranks.
  • Ethnography as ‘Risky Business’
    By Kees Koonings, Dirk Kruijt, and Dennis Rodgers. Ethnography is an inherently rewarding but at the same time ‘risky’ research methodology: ‘high risk, high gain’. It is fraught with uncertainties, practical obstacles, challenges and pitfalls. Ethnographic researchers are unsure (or cannot and should not know beforehand) how it will work out and with what results.
  • Ethnography and violence
    By Dennis Rodgers and Gareth A. Jones. Violence is a phenomenon that sheds bright light on the particularities of the relationship between ethnography as method and as writing. On the one hand, the methodological nature of ethnography means that ethnographers are inevitably forced to take on greater than normal moral and physical …
  • Can soldiers solve Brazil’s crime problem?
    By Christoph Harig. Governments across the globe try to counter violent crime by deploying military forces. European countries such as Belgium and France have stepped up their armed forces’ internal anti-terror and policing role. Only recently, South Africa deployed troops in order to ‘help the police “restore law and maintain order”’ in …
  • Evictions as Urban Violence: Karachi’s Violent Planning Regime
    A child crawls on a pile of rubble that was formerly his home in Machar Colony, an informal settlement located in Karachi’s District West. Trapped by the debris and violence wrought on by Karachi’s latest evictions.

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