If you made any changes in Pure these will be visible here soon.

Personal profile

Scholarly biography

I am a critical criminologist, author of the book: 'A Southern Criminology of Violence, Youth and Policing' (Routledge), co-founder and co-director of The Feminist Cities Colab. I am a member of the British Society of Criminology and the European Group for the Study of Deviance and Social Control, and a member 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 completed my PhD in 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 police violence in Brazil and the criminalisation of dissent in Latin America. I recently co-edited a book entitled 'Southern Perspectives on Policing, Security and Social Order' (Bristol University Press) with Zoha Waseem and Peter Squires.

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 US 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 focuses on violence, feminism, cities, criminology, policing and insecurity. My previous work centred on issues of (in)justice, human rights, critical theory and the theorising interlocking social inequalities relating to class, gender, race 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.

I am currently the principal investigator of two collaborative research projects: 

  • ‘Activism and Authoritarianism: understanding the social and environmental effects of authoritarian governance from the perspective of activists in Brazil’ (funded by the Rising Stars Award, University of Brighton 2020-2021); 
  • ‘The impact of criminalisation on women and feminist activist groups in Brazil’ (funded by the British Academy, 2020-2023/grant number KFSBSF\100004). 


Supervisory Interests

I am interested in supervising students working on the following topics:

  • Urban violence, state violence and political violence
  • Feminist theory and intersectional perspectives
  • Firearms and gun control
  • Post-colonial theory, decolonial frameworks and Southern criminology
  • Crime and deviance in Latin America
  • Social movements and academic activism
  • Theorising the persecution and criminalisation of resistance and dissent

Knowledge exchange

Roxana regularly exchanges knowledge with other institutions, public organisations and the media, here are some examples:

  • She was awarded Seed Funding by the British Academy to co-ordinate a transatlantic collaboration involving a collective of feminists across 5 different institutions (KFSBSF\100004). She has been 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.
  • She appeared on the podcast Student Hours in 2023.
  • She was awarded a CONFAP-The UK Academies visiting researcher grant for the project ‘Building democracy daily: human rights, violence and institutional trust’, a collaboration between the University of São Paulo, human rights activists and academics at the LSE, Berkley, Oxford and Cambridge Universities [grant number 2016/50430-0]. 
  • She 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.
  • She appeared on Headline, July 2020.
  • She was 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.
  • She was consulted for the Smithsonian Channel documentary on the murder case of 'Claudia Lessin Rodrigues' (W51 productions, 2020).
  • Her research findings are also available as podcast episodes at Justice Focus and The Sociology Show.
  • Reviewer for Security dialogueOñati Socio-Legal SeriesPunishment and Society and Interfere.

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, 'Over, under and through the walls': The dynamics of public security, police-community relations and the limits of managerialism in crime control in Recife, Brazil, King's College London

1 Sept 20121 Feb 2017

Award Date: 1 Feb 2017

Master, Criminology, University of Brighton

1 Sept 201031 Jul 2012

Award Date: 27 Jul 2012

External positions

External Examiner, Birkbeck University of London

1 Jul 2021 → …

Lecturer in Criminology, University of Westminster

1 Sept 201623 Sept 2018

Research fellow, Library of Congress

1 Mar 201530 Jun 2015


  • H Social Sciences (General)
  • Criminology
  • Brazil
  • Social Science
  • Feminism


Dive into the research topics where Roxana Cavalcanti is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.
  • 1 Similar Profiles

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or