The Macksey Journal


This research employs ethnographic data from eight weeks of fieldwork in Serrinha, Brazil during the summer of 2019. It seeks to first locate Serrinha as a favela through use of urban and favela literature. Then, it engages concepts of subalternity to analyze the institutions within Serrinha and understand them vis-à-vis formal institutions in the city of Florianópolis. This research finds that subaltern institutions in Serrinha, such as a neighborhood NGO, a Residents’ Association, and a drug cartel, address the lack of infrastructure and services that should be provided by the formal city; in doing so, they provide some agency to Serrinha residents. Through additional examination, this study illustrates that while these alternative institutions play vital roles in the community, they also cause consequences that further divide the favela from the city.