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City of cars: an ethnography on the boundaries between the legal and the illegal through car dismantling in São Paulo

Grant number: 20/12310-8
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): May 01, 2021
Effective date (End): February 29, 2024
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Sociology - Urban Sociology
Principal researcher:Gabriel de Santis Feltran
Grantee:André de Pieri Pimentel
Home Institution: Instituto de Filosofia e Ciências Humanas (IFCH). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:20/07160-7 - Global cars: a transnational urban research on vehicle informal economies (Europe, Africa and South America), AP.TEM


São Paulo is the largest Brazilian city, and also has the largest fleet of private cars. No wonder, it is also the city with the biggest numbers of car robbery and theft in Brazil. Illegalisms and illegal markets are widely discussed in studies on cities, but it is less common that their effects on inequalities and on "urban violence" are described and analyzed from a properly empirical perspective. This research aims to analyze the mechanisms of production of urban borders between the legal and the illegal, in São Paulo, from the dismantling market of stolen vehicles. One effect of the existance of these borders is the simultaneous regulation on markets and on territories, inscribed in historical processes of reproduction of inequalities and violence. Ethnography departs from Avenida Rio das Pedras, east zone of São Paulo. The place is a "centrality" of car dismantling establishments in the city - a region of very intense and diversified commercial activity, but which is a frequent target of police operations aimed at "bursting out" clandestine chopshops, which would operate from the reception and dismantling of stolen cars. The research proposed here will be based on ethnography, through participant observation and semi-structured interviews. (AU)

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