Hurdles Marginalized People Must Cross to Raise Their Voices

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Pinni B building, lecture hall B1097, address: Kanslerinrinne 1

Postdoctoral Research Fellow Leonardo da Costa Custódio, IASR

Different scholars and civil society actors seem to agree on how a plurality of voices is crucial for the development of healthier democratic environments. In some cases, the widespread popularity and increasing access to digital media (e.g. Internet, mobile technology, the app industry) have appeared as aspects of today’s world which can allow a greater number of people to speak up and therefore engage in different forms of politics.

In contribution to these debates, this presentation analyzes how marginalized citizens raise their voices as efforts to act socially and politically in contexts of steep inequalities.

Engaging with Nick Couldry’s argument for “sociologies of voice” (2010), I aim at analyzing how low-income and criminalized residents of favelas in Rio de Janeiro develop tactics (De Certeau, 1984) to cross hurdles of discursive and material nature (Carpentie, 2017) that constrain voice-raising efforts.

First, I demonstrate what discursive and material marginality mean in unequal Rio de Janeiro by articulating urban studies with theories of public and counterpublics. Then, I identify and analyze tactical actions to overcome criminalizing mainstream discourses, generalized distrust and violence. To organize the discussion about the tactical media activist initiatives, I will divide the argument into three parts: (a) how to communicate and mobilize peer favela residents; (b) how to deal with the discriminating, but also legitimizing role of mainstream media; and (c) how to communicate with non-favela residents.


The Speakers Series of the University of Tampere is a series of Studia Generalia Lectures in the Study of Society organized weekly by the University of Tampere Institute for Advanced Social Research (IASR) in cooperation with the New Social Research Programme (NSR). The lectures are given by the Research Fellows as well as the distinguished guests of the IASR and the NSR. For the programme, please check the IASR website Most doctoral students can also get 2 ECTS for attending a minimum of six IASR Lectures, altogether 6 ECTS at the maximum. These 2 ECTS for attending 6 lectures can be earned during two successive terms.

Additional information

Research Secretary Marjukka Virkajärvi,, 050 318 6697