Four Decades of Living on the Edge in Rio de Janeiro

by Janice Perlman

Janice Perlman wrote the first in-depth account of life in the favelas, a book hailed as one of the most important works in global urban studies in the last 30 years. Now, in Favela, Perlman carries that story forward to the present. Re-interviewing many longtime favela residents whom she had first met in 1969--as well as their children and grandchildren--Perlman offers the only long-term perspective available on the favelados as they struggle for a better life.Perlman discovers that while educational levels have risen, democracy has replaced dictatorship, and material conditions have improved, many residents feel more marginalized than ever. The greatest change is the explosion of drug and arms trade and the high incidence of fatal violence that has resulted. Yet the greatest challenge of all is job creation--decent work for decent pay. If unemployment and under-paid employment are not addressed, she argues, all other efforts will fail to resolve the fundamental issues. Foreign Affairs praises Perlman for writing "with compassion, artistry, and intelligence, using stirring personal stories to illustrate larger points substantiated with statistical analysis."

  • Oxford University Press; June 2010
  • ISBN: 9780199709557
  • Read online, or download in secure PDF or secure ePub format
  • Title: Favela
  • Author: Janice Perlman
  • Imprint: Oxford University Press

In The Press

"Perlman returned repeatedly to the famed slums of Rio de Janeiro to follow four generations of residents over 40 years. She writes with compassion, artistry, and intelligence, using stirring personal stories to illustrate larger points substantiated with statistical analysis." --Foreign Affairs
"With a scope that betrays her passion for her subjects, Perlman easily oscillates between narrative and statistical analyses, reporting on touching personal events as well as on larger issues of violence, marginality, and globalization. Perlman is as curious as she is thorough, providing exhaustive research and succeeding in supplying a cohesive and often awing account of the complexities and humanity in Rio's favelas." --The Global Journal
"A valuable and vivid study of life as it has been lived by the poor in one of Latin America's biggest cities." --Times Literary Supplement
"Janice Perlman is one of the leading researchers on urban marginality, and Favela is an exceptional analysis of the evolution of several originally informal settlement over four decades. I highly recommend it as reading for students, urban practitioners, and policy makers." --Manuel Castells, author of The Information Age
"Janice Perlman has written a moving account of her experience over four decades studying, living and working in three of Rio's favelas. This work will appeal to academics--it is full of fine analytical work, as well as to the reader who is concerned with understanding poverty and social justice and how millions in Brazil are trapped by their environment, lack of education and now by crime and violence. While the location of this work is Rio, the lessons and challenges of poverty in big cities is of importance to us all, as the world moves to 2050 when 75% of the population will be in urban areas." --James D. Wolfensohn, Former President, The World Bank
"Perlman has produced an excellent, exhaustive study of life in the 1,020 favelas- squatter settlements in Rio de Janeiro..." --Publishers Weekly Starred Review
"Enlightening and exceptional." --Library Journal
"Perlman seeks to recover stories of people and families with whom she had contact in the late 1960s. As such, her work offers a great contribution, since she incorporates a longitudinal analysis over a long time span... Perlman's narrative is pure delicacy and poetry when she portrays slums as places where friendship, affection, and popular culture prevail." --Contemporary Sociology

About The Author

Janice Perlman is President and Founder of the Mega-Cities Project. She is also the author of The Myth of Marginality: Urban Poverty and Politics in Rio de Janeiro, which won the C. Wright Mills Award.