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Colloquium - Dr. Erika Robb Larkins

When Nov 17, 2017
Where Storm Hall 316
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At the Security School: Protecting Elite Space with a Smile

Dr. Erika Robb Larkins
Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Sociology
Director, J. Keith Behner and Catherine M. Steifel Program on Brazil
San Diego State University

Sponsor: Dr. Kate Swanson

Larkins Colloquium

Private security in Brazil relies on the labor of two different kinds of bodies, which perform two varieties of security behavior. While a militarized hyper masculinity has long been the norm in the industry, it has recently been complemented by what I call a “security- as-hospitality” model. Drawing on 12 months of ethnographic fieldwork in the security industry in Rio de Janeiro, this talk will show how hospitality security is aimed at providing a differentiated form of service to Brazilian (and global) elites in secured spaces of leisure and consumption: shopping malls, concert venues, hotels, and World Cup and Olympic Stadiums.In a society where lower class, dark-skinned bodies are often equated with poverty and criminality, in hospitality security, guards are required to communicate that they are upstanding, law-abiding citizens in order to work in the city’s upper-class neighborhoods. They learn to do this at security schools, where they are taught certain body management techniques to show this. Thus, while some bodies are molded for militarized engagement, others learn to cater hospitably to elite in gentrified areas. This contrast better helps us to understand how security is mapped differentially onto urban space.

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