Date of Award

Fall 12-3-2018

Degree Type

Honors Thesis


International Studies

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

First Advisor

Lucia Cantero


This work aims first and foremost to add to the literature on urban politics and race in Brazil. Where other scholars have not so explicitly addressed the ever present ideology of whiteness in regards to spatial organization and displacement in Brazil, this piece aims to do so. I build off of the work of past scholars in reinforcing that the belief in the racial democracy of Brazil is in fact a myth. I do so by illustrating the processes of the racialization of space that occur in São Paulo’s favelas and their development. The right to the city —a Brazilian federal statute, —insecure land and housing rights and its consequences, as well as an analysis of the São Paulo transit system and bus fares will help me to explore how racial politics affect urban space in Brazil, specifically in the favelas of São Paulo. These three objects will then be analyzed through a critical space and race studies approach that will enable the reader to link the two concepts, thus operationalizing the racialization of space. This will prove that legacies of mestiçagem, the whitening of Brazilian society, informs whiteness manifested in the unequal urban development that spans the nation. This unequal development is evident in the creation and maintenance of São Paulo’s favelas as racialized spaces with unequal access to opportunity and infrastructure.