A Broader Definition of Fragile States:The Communities and Schools of Brazil’s "Favelas"




Straubhaar, Rolf

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Teachers College, Columbia University


Though the existing literature on the favelas (or shantytowns) of Brazil thoroughly documents the chaotic and violent nature of life within them, few connections have been made between the literature on favelas, fragility and small states, particularly with regard to the fragile state of educational institutions in favelas. This article summarizes the primary findings of prominent favela studies across the social sciences alongside the literature on fragility, drawing out a summative definition of fragility that easily applies to the context of education in Brazilian favelas. Primarily, this article argues that not only do the slums of Brazil qualify for classification as fragile small states, but such a classification by prominent multilaterals would open these areas to donor funding for educational programming that could greatly mitigate their fragility and advance educational equity, as occurs in other postconflict and fragile settings around the world.



fragility, educational institutions, equity, postconflict, Brazil, favelas, Counseling, Leadership, Adult Education, and School Psychology


Straubhaar, R. (2012). A Broader Definition of Fragile States: The Communities and Schools of Brazil's "Favelas", Current Issues in Comparative Education, 15(1), pp. 41-51.


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