Accepted paper:

Between use and treatment: an anthropological study of crack users everyday life in "Crackland" (São Paulo/ Brazil)


Deborah Fromm (Center for Metropolitan Studies (CEM))

Paper short abstract:

This study investigates strategies of everyday life of homeless crack users and their relations with the treatment programs of state and evangelicals in a region stigmatized as "Crackland", located in the center of the city of São Paulo, Brazil

Paper long abstract:

During the last decade, Brazil has experienced a spread of consumption of crack by different social strata. However, the fact that has drawn media attention and alarmed public opinion is, above all, its combination with a type of sale and consumption conducted in public spaces in big cities, which are named as "Cracklands". In this sense, the crack took a central position with respect to the uses of urban spaces and the proposals and struggles about the models of treatment for drug addiction. In response to such a "social problem", there was the proliferation of a series of emergency campaigns and government measures. Thus, the "Crackland" of the center of São Paulo started to set up a field of targeted state interventions both for care and control of drug users. From an ethnographic research (2011 - 2015), the present study aims to investigate the relationships established by users with such treatment programs as well as their daily survival strategies. I intend to draw attention to an important contradiction is the fact that although this territoriality is publicly known for consumption and sale of crack, beyond the quest for use, users move to the location to find treatment. Furthermore, I argue that there is an "unwanted effect of the territory", on the perspective of managers, which enhances the circulation of users for different treatment programs, which helps the maintenance of life on the street and goes against the normativity proposal by such treatments.

panel Urba05
The everyday makeshifts of life at the urban margins