Legalized Displacement: Analyzing Eviction Apparatuses in Brazil

Authors: Fernanda Jahn Verri*, UCLA
Topics: Urban and Regional Planning, Latin America, Qualitative Research
Keywords: Displacement, eviction, housing rights, Brazil, land dispossession
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: 8201, Park Tower Suites, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The post-millennial eviction regimes taking place in Brazil must be understood as land dispossession practices that are not only a direct result of the financialization of the housing sector, but of a much broader discriminating process, in which the Judiciary is playing a major role. This paper analyzes processes of legalized displacement, that is the removals that are a direct outcome of eviction mandates ordered by the courts. However, what makes these removals legitimate is not only the fact that they are ruled by judges. These practices are also embedded within governmental, legal, and policy apparatuses. Drawing from Porto Alegre, a city with tradition in participatory mechanisms and community participation programs, I will analyze how displacement is being supported (especially through urban-legal paradigms) and contested (particularly in regard to the strategies adopted by housing rights movements). This paper aims to answer the question “how are legal frameworks on land use and property rights used to justify displacement?”. By employing methods such as archival research and spatial and discourse analysis, I aim to uncover the legalized discourses that are being used to validate land dispossession and the legal remedies developed to dispute it. Finally, at stake here is not only the fact that evictions might be using as a political tool to limit the territorialities of marginalized populations, but, specifically in the case of Brazil, the violation of the constitutional right to housing and, as a result, threats to the full enactment of citizenship itself.

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