Instituto Fernand Braudel de Economia Mundial - Associado à FAAP

Ed. 07: The Rising Tide of Urban Violence

"Street gangs are an ancient heritage of civilization"

Author: William H. McNeill | Published in 1994

A onda crescente de violência urbana

Urban violence worries us as never before in our lives. The monopoly of organized violence that European states began to exercise in the 17th Century shows signs of breaking down in many urban neighborhoods. We especially are disturbed by this breakdown in countries of recent modernization in the New World and the former Soviet empire, in cities such as New York, Rio de Janeiro and Moscow. The breakdown is partly a function of legal restraints on the way police and army behave. In any open fight for control of territory, armed individuals and urban gangs could not prevail over bureaucratically organized police and army. But despite that sort of ultimate superiority, police seem unable to prevent rising incidence of criminal violence in many, perhaps in most, cities of the modern world. In some instances, as in the past, the police and army join forces with criminal gangs. Somehow, the bureaucratic monopolization of violence is challenged by the disaffection of many citizens, on the one hand, and by the open defiance of a few.


Related issues:

  1. Braudel Papers Urban Violence and Civilization
  2. Braudel Papers Why so many executions in São Paulo's periphery?
  3. Research Bus Robbery in the City of São Paulo
  4. Braudel Papers Diadema - Frontier violence and civilization in São Paulo's periphery

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