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Latin American/Caribbean Socioeconomic Polarization (HA)


SOC 332: Block 2 Written Assignment

Latin American/Caribbean Socioeconomic Polarization:

Chapters 3 & 4 of Cities of the World describes in detail the Latin American and Caribbean cities of Mexico City, Monterrey, San Jose, Havana, Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Brasilia, Lima, and Buenos Aires.  Please see the maps at the beginning of each chapter.

In Chapter 4, the author states, “Economic liberalization at the global scale has led to pronounced socioeconomic polarization at the national and local scale.  The region’s growing social divide can be read on its urban landscape.  It is estimated that as many as 4 out of 10 urban dwellers in South America live in conditions of absolute poverty.  Although many South Americans are participating in—and benefiting from—economic globalization, regular employment remains elusive for a large proportion of urban dwellers…  A large proportion of the urban population is housed in inadequate conditions and seeks shelter in dangerous structures with poor sanitation and limited, if any, rights to the land on which their homes are built.  As the gap in wealth widens in South America’s cities, violence and crime are rising; personal security and political unrest are growing concerns.”

Go to Smithsonian Magazine’s website at:

and read “A Look into Brazil’s Makeover of Rio’s Slums” (3 pages).

Then go to YouTube at:

and watch “Rio’s Favela Wars, Parts 1-3”

Write a 4-page paper answering the following questions:

  1. What is a “favela”?  (2 points)
  2. What socioeconomic disparities are highlighted by Brazil’s favelas?  (8 points
  • What is the “pacification project”?  Why is the Brazilian government doing this?  (4 points)
  • In your opinion, will the pacification project have a long lasing positive effect?  Explain your answer.  (6 points)
  • Cite the Smithsonian Magazine article and the YouTube video, plus at least three additional sources.  (5 points)   Remember that sources need to be cited inside the text of your paper and at the end of your paper. You may use any citation format that you are comfortable with, or you can use the format listed below.  To cite a source within your paper, simply place in parenthesis the name of the author or organization and the date published (for example: Maslin, 2009) at the end of the borrowed material.  Then at the end of your paper, give the full bibliographic listing of the source, including author, title, publisher, and copy write date.  If you are citing a website, simply place in parenthesis the name of the website and the date information was accessed (for example:, 1/20/10) at the end of the borrowed material.  Then at the end of your paper, give the full bibliographic listing of the source, including website, author if possible, title of article, copy write date if possible, and date information was accessed.

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