Overshadowing Gender in the Debate on Urban Violence: Comparative Notes on Brazil and the UK
Room 11.14, Social Sciences Building
Leeds Development Studies Seminar Series
Speaker: Dr Polly Wilding, School of Politics and International Studies
The favelas (slums) of Rio de Janeiro are renowned for high levels of urban violence, where the high death rates among young black men from the favelas are a source of both outrage and fear. The primary focus on men in debates on violence frequently overshadows the experiences and victimisation of women. Yet women are both actors and victims in these wars, as well as suffering from distinct forms of violence.
My research until now has been concentrated on Rio de Janeiro and looked at the ways in which the prioritisation of men’s experiences have resulted in both women’s experiences of gender-based as well as urban violence being overlooked, exploring the consequent impacts on women’s agency and choices. This paper continues to develop the two main axes that have come out of this work on Rio de Janeiro, and beginning to apply these to new contexts and debates.
This paper reflects upon initial attempts to explore parallels with the UK, and how recent debates on gang violence have tended to focus on male-on-male crime, with little attention paid to the young women who get involved as bystanders, indirect victims or as active agents. This paper will comment on the extent to which media coverage and policy discourse neglect gender, and the experiences, roles, influence and power young women have in the context of urban violence. It will suggest a range of issues that arise out of this initial exploration of the UK context.
Room 11.14 is located on Level 11 (the first floor) of the Social Sciences Building.