"Through artistic imaginaries, media productions, social practices and spatial mappings, this book offers an insightful and original contribution to the understanding of Rio de Janeiro, one of the highly contested urban terrains in the world. Offering a rich diversity of examples extracted from lived experience, iconographic materials, and narratives, it provides innovative and compelling connections between theoretical questions and urban vignettes. Throughout the essays, the specificity of Rio de Janeiro is highlighted but framed in relation to theoretical questions that are relevant to major contemporary cities. The book underlines the dilemmas of a city that attempts to compete globally while confronting social inequality, violence, and novel forms of democratic agency. It retraces Rio de Janeiro’s modernist memories as the former political/cultural capital of Brazilian intelligentsia and national culture. It explores Rio as a city of popular culture, mestizo legacies, media productions, and cultural innovation."

chapter |14 pages


The eyes of the city

chapter 1|34 pages

Imagining the “Marvelous City”

Spectacle and urban spaces 1

chapter 2|24 pages

Modernist ruins

National narratives and architectural forms 1

chapter 3|32 pages

The visible and the invisibles

Photography and social imaginaries in Brazil 1

chapter 4|28 pages

Carnival crowds 1

Caught in the crowd

chapter 5|39 pages

Tropical Babylon

Copacabana and the poetics of nostalgia and decadence 1

chapter 6|38 pages


Realist aesthetics, consumption, and authorship 1

chapter 7|19 pages

Narrating the street

Modernity and decadence

chapter |4 pages


The image of the city