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Novos Estudos - CEBRAP

Print version ISSN 0101-3300

Abstract

LESSING, Benjamin. As facções cariocas em perspectiva comparativa. Novos estud. - CEBRAP [online]. 2008, n.80, pp. 43-62. ISSN 0101-3300.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0101-33002008000100004.

It has become a commonplace that Rio de Janeiro’s guerra do tráfico is entirely unique within Brazil. In fact, this is inaccurate. Drug trafficking organizations that in many respects resemble Rio’s facções do exist in other urban contexts. What differentiates them is less the ability to establish a local monopoly on the drug trade than the resilience of their internal structure, and consequently the duration of their existence and domination. During field research in nine peripheral communities in three cities, I observed not only high variation in the degree of concentration between local drug markets, but also variation over time within single communities. In this light, the stability of Rio’s highly concentrated drug market can be seen as a unique equilibrium in which the fragmentary forces at work in other cities are neutralized by specific traits of Rio’s factions. These traits, I argue, stem from the dominion these factions have exerted over the state’s prison system since before the period of their original expansion into the drug trade.

Keywords : drug dealing; drug war; Rio de Janeiro’s prisional system.

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