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Unsettling resettlements: Community, belonging and livelihood in Rio de Janeiro’s Minha Casa Minha Vida

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Abstract

This chapter argues that looking at forced evictions through the lens of housing resettlement or relocation can challenge the common-sense notion of temporal finality associated to enforced displacements—opening the latter up to a broader framework that recognises continuity across space and time. It focuses on the experiences of post-eviction state-led resettlements in 2 Minha Casa Minha Vida (MCMV) housing projects in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and attends to the relationship between those processes, community life and livelihoods—understood here not only as work, but also as the ability to sustain and flourish in life. In considering the everyday emotional, geographic, material and economic dimensions of post-eviction housing resettlements, as experienced by residents, these sites reveal enduring histories of urban insecurity and inequality that can, amongst other effects, reproduce and intensify gendered social structures.