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National Institute of Science and Technology: Violence, Democracy and Public Security

Grant number: 08/57842-5
Support Opportunities:Research Projects - Thematic Grants
Duration: March 01, 2009 - July 31, 2016
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Sociology
Convênio/Acordo: CNPq - INCTs
Principal Investigator:Sergio França Adorno de Abreu
Grantee:Sergio França Adorno de Abreu
Host Institution: Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas (FFLCH). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil


The National Institute of Science and Technology: Violence, Democracy and Public Security constitute a network of national research centers and groups of excellence. Having the center of study of violence of the University of São Paulo as proponent institution, the institute involves the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, the Fundação Oswaldo Cruz, the Fórum Brasileiro de Segurança Pública, the Federal University of Ceará, the University of Brasília and the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul. This means that four of the five Brazilian regions are involved in the program. The institute, during the next three or five years will develop research, educational and knowledge transfers activities and, in this sense has academic, organizational, educational and knowledge transfer goals. Academic: the research program is organized around three research Iines. The research program pro poses to explore the paradox of the unstable combination of changes and authoritarian continuities founded in Brazilian democratic transition and consolidation. At the broader level we seek to contribute to answer the question about what kind of democracy can develop in such complex contexts such as Brazil. This implies the study of the actual process of governance to identify in how far basic tenets of democracy are being respected. The focus will be on public security but we will also continue to monitor human rights in its full meaning giving at first priority to the right to physical integrity: to be protected from violence either by agents of the state or by others as key element to enjoy other rights. Governance is to be evaluated both by the actual results it produces in public security but also as how this performance is evaluated by the public and its effects on the development of a human rights culture and in the support for rule of law. If democracy and human rights culture demand the existence of effective democratic rule of Law, what can be expected for the future of democracy in Brazil? Why improvements in economic and social rights, in a context of decline of violence, co-exist with the expansion of organized crime, corruption and gross human rights violations? Why despite such improvements there still are territories dominated by organized crime, and systemic corruption continues to plague the political, administrative, and judicial spheres? Can there be public security without universal access to civil rights, in particular to the right to Iife. In particular what role does impunity play for the development of a human rights culture and in the support of democratic rule of law? (Morlino, 2004). What support do we find for the rule of law among the population. What are the pre-conditions for a human rights culture? To what extent human rights violations continue to occur in Brazil and who are the groups most at risk? Finally to what extent the lack of closure promoted by the general amnesty, a pre-condition for the transition to democracy is an obstacle to effective democratic rule of law? In other words can we have democratic rule of law while denying past violations? The questions we seek to answer are set against the hypothesis about the how the civilizing process has taken place within Brazilian society. We will study two extreme cases in which the suspension of laws resulted in temporarily. Failed states, represented by two frontier states (Acre and Rondônia), resulted in non-universal law enforcement, fear, insecurity and low trust in institutions among the population, to explore what happens to the civilizing process in such contexts as means to develop a model of what could have happened in the past, or yet happen in the future, elsewhere in the country. This will be complemented by two case studies: a) one in which the there seems to be a chronic failure by the state to control criminal activities and even the territory as is the case in Rio de Janeiro and b) a comparison between two cities: Fortaleza and Mendellín that having presented similar process of urban expansion with similar problems in terms of social, economic and security conditions, have adopted different solutions to regain control and to provide security for its inhabitants. We will also analyze the paradox of drop in homicide both across the country and in the case of São Paulo across the state against a context of growth of different forms of organized crime. We will also compare the evolution of homicide in Brazil with that of Argentina and Colombia, to explore similarities and differences... (AU)

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