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Environmental protection for whom? the instrumentalization of ecology against the right to housing

posted on 26.12.2018, 04:24 by Marcelo Lopes de Souza

Abstract This article has two main objectives: a) to briefly present and discuss some technical terms, concepts and approaches that deserve to receive more attention on the part of those Brazilian researchers who devote themselves to the field of urban studies from a perspective concerned with social justice (and with the obstacles that constrain or prevent it); b) to outline a research agenda regarding the conflicts over land use linked to the ideological friction between the right to housing and environmental protection. After an introductory discussion on the concept of environmental justice and its relevance to social struggles - contextualising the analysis with help of the concept of 'urban eco-geopolitics' -, it is offered a critical treatment of the term 'environmental risk.' Finally, as the main 'laboratory' that provides empirical support for the arguments developed in the text, the paper presents what can be understood as an emblematic case study of conservative exploitation of the discourse of 'environmental protection': the threat of forced eviction under which favela dwellers of the 'buffer zone' of the Tijuca National Park (Rio de Janeiro) have suffered.