Perception of Violence in a Former Slum in Brazil: A Phenomenological Investigation

By Amir Qaddomi.

Published by The Global Studies Journal

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Vila Nova has existed for approximately 20 years in the outskirts of Brasilia, Brazil. Its residents came from other states in search of better economic opportunities. The researcher conducted a focus group interview in 2008 that revealed residents of Vila Nova lived in a constant state of alert and fear due to the emergence of violence. The researcher sought to explore the question, “What is the lived experience of violence among the residents of Vila Nova?” The researcher used a qualitative research methodology informed by a phenomenological approach to inquire about the shared experiences of violence. This method was appropriate for the investigation as the researcher sought to elicit the meaning that participants associated with the violence they perceived and experienced. Consistent with a phenomenological approach, the researcher conducted in-depth, open-ended interviews with eleven participants in an effort to understand their points of view, how they related to the phenomenon of violence, and the meanings that violence held for them. Participants to the study provided a rich description of their shared experiences with violence in Vila Nova. Themes that emerged were: feeling vulnerable, concern for children’s future, discrimination against the community, and contributing factors to violence. Participants’ coping strategies included remaining silent; self-imposed isolation; not going out at night; talking to children; prohibiting children from playing outside; adapting to one’s surroundings; and having faith in god. Adapting to violence was seen as the only alternative to Vila Nova residents since no other solution was in place for the near future. Further research should address coping mechanisms to violence among underprivileged populations especially when states are not present.

Keywords: Community Violence, Poverty, Underprivileged Populations, Qualitative Methodology, Phenomenological Investigation

Global Studies Journal, Volume 4, Issue 2, pp.219-232. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 792.827KB).

Amir Qaddomi

Graduate Student, Department of Health Education and Promotion, College of Health and Human Performance, East Carolina University, Brasilia, Distrito Federal, Brazil

Amir Qaddomi has a Bachelors degree in Sociology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) and has recently concluded his Masters in 2010 in Health Education at East Carolina University (ECU). Amir Qaddomi presently works in Brazil as a health educator and conducts information sessions for people living with HIV/AIDS and works as a mediator in self-help and adherence methods meetings for the same population. He also continues to work with a group of independent researchers, therapists and health practitioners on developing alternative strategies for addressing community violence in at-risk neighborhoods. Some of his other interests include participation and inclusion of marginalized population in society, gender equality and women’s studies.


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