Carnival and the Renewal of Queer Politics: How Carnival Street movements (blocos) are re-appropriating Rio de Janeiro's streets.

Lead Research Organisation: University of Sheffield
Department Name: Geography


LGBTQ+ populations worldwide have struggled for a long time to create original pathways to resist prejudice and attain self-expression. Cities provide opportunities for getting together in spaces where a community/social network can be developed due to their more tolerant, diverse and open milieus (Doderer, 2011). This project addresses a major cultural event in the urban life of Rio de Janeiro which despite its global visibility has received little scholarly attention in relation to the city's intersectional LGBTQ+ communities and their ability to appropriate otherwise hostile urban geographies in one of the countries with the highest rates of homo- and trans-phobic violence. Carnival, as Gontijo (2009) points out, is the foremost ritual of within Brazilian culture and promotes 'unusually' positive social attitudes towards queer bodies. During the celebration
period in Brazil, an utopic climate is instated celebrating the absence of hierarchy, power, money and physical effort. Musicality, dance and multiple art forms seek to equalise all subjects and create a social bond. This is defined as a moment of 'freedom' when people have the opportunity to go about their lives 'in reverse' (DaMatta, 1986). Therefore, the overarching focus of this research is to investigate the role of LGBTQ+ carnival street movements (blocos) in shaping Rio's queer urban geography beyond the most spectacular and tourist-oriented events. The project will contribute to understanding everyday queerness through iconic performances and year-round practices of organising and preparation


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