A casa cai: unveiling geographies of exclusion and violence

Katia Costa Bezerra


 Favelas have existed for more than a century and have been historically portrayed as spaces of violence, criminality, and poverty. Over the years there have been different efforts to eliminate them from the wealthiest parts of the city. In spite of the different policies to remove them, the presence of favelas persists in areas close to wealth neighborhoods such as Copacabana, Ipanema and Leblon. In 2014, Marcelo Backes published the novel A casa cai. The book tells the story of a former seminarist who leaves the priesthood after his father’s death. While investigating documents from his father’s safe, he realizes that part of his family’s fortune was made from real estate investments at the place where it used to be the Favela da Praia do Pinto. Drawing from David Harvey’s discussion on neoliberalism and urban space and Neil Smith’s notion of gentrification, the essay explores the ways in which the novel engages with questions of urban policies, displacement, violence, and memory. In so doing, it attempts to unveil the close association between capital, favela eradication programs and issues of inequality and discrimination. I argue that the novel is part of a larger debate over the struggle between social justice and the reproduction of capital. I also contend that Backes’s novel is part of a revisionist project that attempts to bring other facets to the military dictatorship in Brazil.


urban space, favelas, gentrification, memory, military regime

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.35520/diadorim.2019.v21nEspa28330


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