What are the manifest and latent functions of the favela pacification program in Brazil as part of the preparation for the 2014 FIFA World Cup and 2016 Olympic Games?  In your response, could you...

What are the manifest and latent functions of the favela pacification program in Brazil as part of the preparation for the 2014 FIFA World Cup and 2016 Olympic Games? 

In your response, could you please provide a definition of manifest and latent functions, in addition to a few examples of both kinds of functions?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that it should be noted that favela pacification had started as far back as 2008.  The favela of Dona Marta experienced the first presence of a Police Pacification Unit as a response to increase drug trafficking and drug warlord activity.  Despite its roots, favela pacification has increased significantly and with more fervor given the preparation for the 2014 FIFA World Cup and 2016 Olympic Games.

In analyzing the presence of manifest and latent functions in the favela pacification program, one is essentially looking at consequences.  The manifest functions represent the intended and accomplished consequences.  The latent functions are more unexpected, something that might not have been immediately realized upon conception of the plan.  For example, what one expects would be a manifest function, while something that one does not expect nor readily recognize is a latent function.  A small example of this would be the 2003 United States' action in Iraq.  A manifest function was the removal of Saddam Hussein as leader, while the rise of insurgent activity that resulted could be seen as a latent function.

One of the manifest functions of the favela pacification program was greater community recognition of the police.  For so long, the favelas had not seen the police as an active and consistent force in their community.  One of the manifest functions of the pacification initiative was to establish the police as a daily part of favela life.  Another manifest function of the pacification program was the removal of drug warlords from specific favelas.  Armed criminals dissipated from favelas because of the intensity of police forces.  This consisted of two waves.  The first wave was of an active door to door campaign to remove suspected criminals.  This paramilitary force is complemented after about two weeks with the community based Pacifying Policy Unit (UPP)  phase of pacification, something that remains for an extended period of time:

The paramilitary operation began when armoured personnel carriers roared through the suburban streets just after dawn while curious residents took smartphone pictures from their balconies and delivery men dropped off bundles of Sunday morning papers. Hundreds of heavily armed troops and paramilitary police then moved into the hillside favelas, sweeping the steep, narrow pathways. They are likely to stay for two weeks, after which a more lightly armed resident force known as the UPP will set up a base in the area.

The manifest function of the paramilitary phase is the removal of suspected criminals, to break down the "law of the traffickers" in specific favelas.  Another manifest function of the pacification program is to increase the quality of living conditions in the favela.  Brazilian leadership has committed over "140 million pounds to improve living conditions." The fact that the favelas have seen an improvement in the basic quality of life reflects another manifest function. This has also helped to trigger an increase in education in the favelas:  

Our mission is to provide social services in as good a quality as the rest of the city, to improve the quality of life for the communities.  "We now have something like 150 new schools [in the favelas] to provide a better service for the children." 

Finally, a manifest function of the favela pacification program was a redefinition of the police as a social force of cohesion.  For so long, citizens in the favelas have felt that the corruption of the police has made them unreliable as agents of change. Yet, part of the program is to staff it with new police recruits, "coming straight from the UPP police academy."  In this light, the manifest function of the favela pacification program was to recast the social perception of the police force in Rio.

There have been some latent functions of the favela pacification program, as well. In areas of Rio that are not favelas, crime has increased.  The criminals who nested in the favelas have established a base of activity in other parts of Rio that do not have UPP presence. Another one of the latent functions has been in the increase of reporting criminal activity.  The manifest functional result of the pacification program that has seen violent crime in the favelas decrease has also seen the reporting of other criminal activity, such as theft, rape, and domestic violence, increase.  This latent function has helped to generate an overall community discussion about criminal activity.  It is no longer kept as a "taboo" topic or something that cannot be discussed. Rather it is something that community members can openly discuss, while being somewhat leery of whether the police presence will stay.  Another latent function is the emergence of corporate interests.  So much of the program is public initiative that the presence of private companies was unexpected.  After the initial phase of pacification is complete, private companies that are selling consumer goods like television satellites or cell phones have begun to establish a presence in the favelas:

Another eye-popping change was the arrival of two Sky salesmen, who quickly set up plastic tables for their subscription leaflets on exactly the same spots as the drug dealers had previously used to market their wraps of cocaine and hash.  "I just came today. We always do this after a pacification operation," said Renate Isahu, who said he had already signed up 10 customers. "It's a good time to pick up business." The Claro phone network was also following in the wake of the troops with a team of leaflet distributors.

The latent functions will continue to develop as the program continues for a longer period of time.

Sources:

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