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Accidents? Urban infrastructure and violence in rail transport in Rio de Janeiro

Grant number: 22/09274-5
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctoral
Effective date (Start): November 01, 2022
Effective date (End): October 31, 2024
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Sociology - Urban Sociology
Principal Investigator:Bianca Stella Pinheiro de Freire Medeiros
Grantee:Marcos Vinicius Lopes Campos
Host Institution: Centro Brasileiro de Análise e Planejamento (CEBRAP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil


Recent ethnographies argue that the unequal dispute over urban infrastructure (water, electricity, waste management, paving, etc.) has become a fundamental perspective for the comparative and transnational analysis of urban conflict. Inscribed in these debates, this project aims to understand the tense relationship between the metropolitan transport infrastructure and the reconfigurations of urban conflict in Rio de Janeiro. More specifically, I propose a documentary ethnography of the long and little studied history of deaths, injuries and mutilations that occurred in rail transport in the metropolitan region of Rio de Janeiro (1900-2022). Based on the analysis of the bureaucratic practices of documentation and public documents in the collections of the Estrada de Ferro Central do Brasil and in the carioca press, present in the National Archives and the National Library, I will reconstruct the classification diagrams of accidents and their forms of administration. How are deaths, injuries and mutilations officially recorded and managed over time? What do these varying forms of classification tell us about urban conflict in its dimensions of class, race, gender, territory and generation? This project contributes to the literature, on the one hand, by exploring the relations between infrastructure, difference, and urban conflict and, on the other hand, by including mobility infrastructures as an empirical object of investigation.

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