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Personal profile

Scholarly biography

I am a feminist critical criminologist, currently writing my first book: 'A New Southern Criminology of Violence, Youth and Policing' (Routledge), which is based on my PhD research at King’s College London (2012-2017), where I am affiliated with the Brazil Institute.

My most recent projects focus on the issues of legitimacy and police violence in Brazil, where I am affiliated with the Nucleo de Estudos da Violencia at the University of Sao Paulo. Prior to this, 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 was funded by the Economic and Social Science Research Council (ESRC) and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).

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.

Knowledge exchange

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].

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

Master, University of Brighton

1 Sep 201031 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 2011 2019

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

Pessoa Cavalcanti, R., 2019, (Accepted/In press).

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


The politics of crime and militarised policing in Brazil

Pessoa Cavalcanti, R. & Garmany, J., 15 May 2019, (Accepted/In press) In : International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Marginalised youth, violence and policing: a qualitative study in Recife, Brazil

Cavalcanti, R., 21 Aug 2018, Youths in Challenging Situations: International and Interdisciplinary Perspectives. Tsekeris, C. & Stylianoudi, L. (eds.). Routledge

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNChapter

Activities 2015 2019

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

Southern Perspectives on Policing, Security and Social Order

Roxana Cavalcanti (Organiser), Peter Squires (Organiser)
27 Jun 2019

Activity: EventsEvent

The politics of crime and militarised policing in Brazil

Roxana Cavalcanti (Presenter)
8 May 2019

Activity: External talk or presentationInvited talk