Capability failures and corrosive disadvantage in a violent rainforest metropolis

Piva da Silva, Mariana and Fraser, James and Parry, Luke (2021) Capability failures and corrosive disadvantage in a violent rainforest metropolis. Geographical Review. ISSN 0016-7428

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Governments continue to narrowly equate improved well-being with economic growth, contrary to decades of development scholarship. The capabilities approach instead emphasizes freedom and what individuals are able to do and to be within society. However, it underplays structural determinants of social inequities and says little about violence, a dominant problem in metropolitan areas of Latin America. Framing our analysis around capabilities and theorizing on disadvantage, we examine experiences of inequity and violence in Manaus, a metropolis in the Brazilian Amazon. We show how the threat of physical violence is highly corrosive because it underpins a cluster of disadvantage which profoundly impacts central capabilities including emotions, bodily integrity and affiliation. Social isolation is commonplace because interactions are perceived as risks rather than pathways to mutual recognition. Violence begets violence in low-income neighbourhoods and this constrains capabilities, causes shame and indignity, and limits potential for self-realization. Policy-makers should address how disadvantaged people feel about themselves, relate to others and are able to decide how to conduct their daily lives.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Geographical Review
Additional Information:
This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Geographical Review on 3rd March 2021, available online:
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Deposited On:
01 Feb 2021 09:50
Last Modified:
21 Sep 2023 03:03