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Personal profile

Scholarly biography

I am a critical criminologist, author of the book: 'A Southern Criminology of Violence, Youth and Policing' (Routledge), member of the British Society of Criminology and the European Group for the Study of Deviance and Social Control, deputy leader of the Cities Injustices and Resistance research group at the University of Brighton. I am affiliated with the Brazil Institute at King’s College London where I did my PhD (2012-2017), and with the NEV institute at the University of São Paulo. I am also a visiting researcher at UTPL university in Ecuador.

My most recent projects focus on the issues of legitimacy and police violence in Brazil. Prior to working in Brighton, I was a lecturer in Criminology at the University of Westminster and a research fellow at the Kluge Center, Library of Congress (Washington DC, USA) where I conducted research into recently declassified government documents about international police assistance.

My  research has been funded by the Economic and Social Science Research Council (ESRC), the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), the Newton Fund-CONFAP, the British Academy and Brazilian Academy of Sciences.

Research interests

My research is in the areas of criminology, violence, policing and insecurity. My previous work has focused on the politics of crime control, justice and human rights, critical theory, theorising social inequalities relating to class, gender and ethnicity in the context of Brazil. My research has been published in academic journals such as Contemporary Social Science, the Bulletin for Latin American Research and the International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy.

Supervisory Interests

I am interested in supervising students working on the following topics: urban violence, gun control, state crime, Southern Criminology, crime and deviance in Latin America, academic activism and the criminalisation of resistance movements.

Knowledge exchange

I was funded by the British Academy and Brazilian Academy of Sciences to participate in the Urban Violence Knowledge Frontiers Symposium in Rio de Janeiro, 6th-8th March 2020.

I was awarded a CONFAP-The UK Academies visiting researcher grant for the project ‘Building democracy daily: human rights, violence and institutional trust’, which is a collaboration between the University of Sao Paulo and a range of academics at the LSE, Berkley, Oxford and Cambridge Universities [grant number 2016/50430-0]. 

Appeared on ‘Brazil: Will playing pandemic politics help or hurt Bolsonaro? Country faces mounting coronavirus death toll and prospect of increased military power’. Aljazeera, The Stream, 16th June 2020. Available at:

https://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/thestream/2020/06/brazil-playing-pandemic-politics-hurt-bolsonaro-200615201632999.html [Accessed 29th June 2020]

Appeared on Headline, July 2020.

Consulted by Castro, J.R. for article ‘How Brazil’s Military Police became a key supporter of Jair Bolsonaro’. The Brazilian Report, 4th June 2020. Available at

https://brazilian.report/power/2020/06/04/growing-role-military-police-jair-bolsonaro-government/ [Accessed 29th June 2020]

You can listen to a podcast about my research here (Justice Focus, 2020).

Approach to teaching

My teaching approach is dynamic, interactive and grounded in the realities of our social world. I draw on material from my research about firearms and policing in Brazilian favela communities, as well as examples from the media, music, film and TV to examine how our ideas about crime and justice influence our perceptions and the world around us. I believe that seminars, workshops and lectures are more thought provoking if people who have conducted their own research are teaching the topics under discussion. Teaching and research complement each other. People who research usually choose to work on topics that they feel passionate about, so this interest and passion becomes reflected in the teaching. 

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, King's College London

1 Sep 20121 Feb 2017

Award Date: 1 Feb 2017

Master, University of Brighton

1 Sep 201031 Jul 2012

Award Date: 27 Jul 2012

External positions

Lecturer in Criminology, University of Westminster

1 Sep 201623 Sep 2018

Research fellow, Library of Congress

1 Mar 201530 Jun 2015


  • H Social Sciences (General)
  • Criminology
  • Brazil

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Research Output

A Southern Criminology of Violence, Youth and Policing: Governing Insecurity in Urban Brazil

Pessoa Cavalcanti, R., 14 Apr 2020, (Accepted/In press) Routledge. 184 p. (Routledge Studies in Crime and Justice in Asia and the Global South)

Research output: Book/ReportBook - authored

Regimes de Controle: Violencia Estrutural e Simbolica

Pessoa Cavalcanti, R., 16 Oct 2020.

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

The politics of crime and militarised policing in Brazil

Pessoa Cavalcanti, R. & Garmany, J., 18 May 2020, In : International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy. 9, 2, p. 102-118 17 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
  • Urban Violence and Southern Theory during the Pandemic

    Pessoa Cavalcanti, R., 1 May 2020, Urban Violence Research Network

    Research output: Other contribution

    Open Access


    Episode 1: A Southern Criminology of Violence, Youth and Policing

    Roxana Cavalcanti (Presenter) & Omar Khan (Presenter)

    Apr 2020

    Activity: External talk or presentationInvited talk

    Una criminología sureña de violencia y control: gobernando la inseguridad en el Sul global

    Roxana Cavalcanti (Presenter)

    23 Jan 2020

    Activity: External talk or presentationOral presentation

    State-corporate harms, bordering and the rise of authoritarian neoliberalism in Brazil

    Roxana Cavalcanti (Presenter)

    6 Sep 2019

    Activity: External talk or presentationOral presentation

    Crime control, bordering and the rise of authoritarian neoliberalism in Brazil

    Roxana Cavalcanti (Presenter)

    29 Aug 2019

    Activity: External talk or presentationOral presentation

    RGS-IBG Annual International Conference

    Roxana Cavalcanti (Participant)

    27 Aug 201930 Aug 2019

    Activity: EventsConference