Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Government and International Affairs

Major Professor

Bernd Reiter, Ph.D.

Committee Member

M. Mark Amen, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Rachel A. May, Ph.D.


Violence, Police, Inequality, Poverty, Racism


This thesis looks at the nature of violence with its endemic, and increasingly epidemic presence in Brazil. I analyze the structure of the justice system, police force, and the many governmental security programs in order to better explain why Brazil is so violent and its government has been unable to control this violence. Living under violent conditions, Brazil has become a society where the efficient functioning of the public sphere has been undermined. This public space, shared by citizens, is what many academics believe to be a critical component of a robust and functioning democracy. In Brazil, it is shown, this space is often absent as people are scared away by the violence. Furthermore, the question of whether or not violence is a threat to Brazil’s democratic system is addressed.