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Vibrant: Virtual Brazilian Anthropology

On-line version ISSN 1809-4341


FRUGOLI JR, Heitor  and  SPAGGIARI, Enrico. Networks and territorialities: an ethnographic approach to the so-called cracolândia ["crackland"] in São Paulo. Vibrant, Virtual Braz. Anthr. [online]. 2011, vol.8, n.2, pp.550-579. ISSN 1809-4341.

The aim of this paper is to present a more systematic investigation of what is commonly called crackland (cracolândia), going beyond the stigmatized representations of the Luz neighborhood and the center of São Paulo shown especially by the press and television. The use of crack cocaine is currently becoming a theme of increasing concern in Brazil, with repeated news about the “proliferation of cracklands” in various cities, and what each of these means must be understood. Exploring networks of relationships and connections from an ethnographic perspective, we will work with the idea of crackland as a type of itinerant territoriality within a multifaceted context, and marked by multiple situational variations. This ethnographic reconstitution is mainly based on our interactions with “É de Lei”, an NGO that works with harm reduction for users of crack cocaine in the region in question. The actions of É de Lei take place within a field of mediation which also involves actions of agents linked to public authorities, to other NGOs and to churches, as well as policemen, private security guards, shopkeepers, residents and passers-by. One of the challenges consists of understanding and explaining this territoriality in view of the recent political changes in the context researched, characterized by the presence of “noias” (a word derived from the term paranoia), a relational category used to refer to crack cocaine users.

Keywords : the Luz district; territoriality; crack.

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