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Dr Jeff Garmany

Senior Lecturer


Contact Details:-

Office: 0.03 Chesham Building
King's College London
              London WC2R 2LS

Tel: +44 (0)20 7848 2751
Office hours: Tuesdays 15:00 - 17:00 or by appointment

List of research outputs: Pure Profile


Research Interests

Governance and State theory; postcolonial urban development; critical development studies and globalisation; policing/security and space; poverty and political ecology; critical and social theory.

Further information on Dr Garmany's research

In the most general sense, Dr. Garmany's academic work lies in political, urban, and development geography. Drawing from both fieldwork and social theory, his research seeks to understand how State power and governance are produced and maintained in rapidly developing contexts. More specifically, he is interested in the prosaic and everyday processes that produce the State, governance and citizenship, inequality, and relations of power – and the moments that deconstruct these processes – in the Global South. On the one hand, his work provides much needed empirical insight for analyses of socio-cultural change, neoliberalism, and uneven development; and on the other hand, it contributes more broadly to theoretical debates surrounding critical development, State theory, security/policing, and urban and rural poverty.   

Based in north-eastern Brazil, Garmany's most current research examines the geographies of Conditional Cash Transfer programs (CCTs), and the ways these ‘pro-poor’ development schemes affect space and citizenship in rural Latin America. His fieldwork data suggest not only do CCTs produce new relationships between the State and CCT recipients, but that modes of production, family and social structures, and cartographic boundaries are also changing in the wake of these development programs. This work sheds new light on emergent processes and landscapes in rapidly developing countries like Brazil, and also helps to untangle some of the contradictions that characterize ‘third world’ development.    

Garmany's research into CCTs and their geographic implications emerged from his previous work on governance and State/society relationships in a favela community in the city of Fortaleza, Brazil. Though some favelas are under the strict control of police or outlaw authorities (e.g., drug traffickers), most are not, and in this research he sought to explain how governance persists in spaces where the State bears a limited material presence (in terms of basic urban infrastructure, emergency response personnel, hospitals, schools, government buildings and actors). This project involved several years of ethnographic fieldwork, and allowed him to forge numerous collaborative relationships with Brazilian academics and activists.  

Garmany's work in Fortaleza has led to several new areas of scholarship in recent years, focused primarily on issues of urban poverty and the landscapes produced by evolving neoliberal processes. In one project, he contributes to an emergent literature that examines violence and policing in rapidly developing contexts. Drawing from a host of interdisciplinary debates, this research seeks to unravel the connections between space, the State, violence, and the law. Then, in a second project, he investigates the spatio-organizational roles of religious/spiritual practices in impoverished urban communities. 

Supported in the past by American funding agencies (e.g., the National Science Foundation and the Mellon/ACLS), Garmany's most recent research has gained support from British institutions (e.g., The British Academy/Leverhulme Trust). Building upon this, he is currently at work on two new research projects: the first seeks funding to investigate questions of public security, State sovereignty, and the role of private security companies in urban Brazil; and the second one examines urban development, poverty,  and the ‘new middle class’ in Latin America. Both of these grants seek multiple years of funding for fieldwork and analysis, and they contribute to growing calls for international links and interdisciplinary academic collaboration. 

Jeff Garmany's profile on the King's Research Portal.

Recent invited lectures


“Police, violence, and the state in urban Brazil,” Department of Politics and International Studies, Cambridge University.

“What monopoly on violence? Sovereignty, discretion, and private security in urban space,” Geopolitical Violence workshop, University of Glasgow. 

“O estado, a polícia, e espaço urbano: Investigando violência em cidades contemporâneas,” Tackling Violence in Latin America – scoping workshop, British Council, São Paulo (Brazil). 

“Exploring the roots of urban police violence,” Comparative and International Criminal Justice, Westminster University.

“O estado, espaço, e segurança: Violência (policial) em cidades brasileiras,” Institute of Philosophy and Human Sciences, University of Campinas. 

“Police, violence, and governance in urban Brazil,” Department of Geography, King’s College London. 



“Social housing, urban governance, and (in)formal development,” Institute of Development Research and Development Policy, Ruhr-University Bochum.

PhD supervision

Within the King’s Brazil Institute, Dr. Garmany is currently supervising PhD students: Christopher BartonKim BeechenoGustavo GouveiaRoberta Sakai, and Kayla Svoboda, and is second supervisor for Lara Langston in the Department of Geography and Jennifer Constantine in the Department of International Development.


Jeff Garmany graduated from the University of Colorado (Magna Cum Laude) in 2002 with a BA in Anthropology, and then completed his MA in Geography at the University of Arizona in 2006.

He completed his PhD in Geography (with a minor in Latin American Studies) at the University of Arizona in 2011, where his dissertation research examined questions of governance and social order in an urban slum in northeast Brazil. Though some urban slums are under the control of outlaw authorities (e.g. drug traffickers), most are not, and in his work Garmany investigated how community and self-governance are produced in areas where the state bears a limited material presence (in terms of basic urban infrastructure, emergency response personnel, hospitals, schools, government buildings and actors).

During his graduate tenure at the University of Arizona Garmany taught several courses in the School of Geography and Development, and in his final year of doctoral work he was awarded an Andrew W. Mellon/ACLS dissertation fellowship. In addition to the Mellon Foundation, his research has gained support from the National Science Foundation and a host of scholarly institutions, fellowships, and research grants.

His current research interests remain focused upon development and globalisation in Brazil; governance and social order in urban space; poverty, social justice, violence and narco-geographies; religious and spiritual practices; and the political ecologies of environmental change..

He joined the King’s Brazil Institute as a lecturer in August 2011, and was promoted to senior lecturer of geography and the Brazil Institute in 2017.


Selected publications

Garmany, J. and Galdeano, A.P. (2017) “Crime, insecurity, and corruption: Considering the growth of urban private security,” Urban Studies (forthcoming).

Garmany, J. (2017) “Strategies of conditional cash transfers and the tactics of resistance,” Environment and Planning A 49(2): 372-388.

Richmond, M. and Garmany, J. (2017) “A ‘Post-Third World City’ or a neoliberal ‘City of Exception’? Rio de Janeiro in the Olympic era,” International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 40(3): 621-639.

Coates, R. and Garmany, J. (2017) “The ecology of citizenship: Understanding vulnerability in urban Brazil,” International Development Planning Review 39(1): 37-56.

Garmany, J. (2016) “Neoliberalism, governance, and the geographies of conditional cash transfers,” Political Geography 50(1): 61-70.

Garmany, J. (2014) Space for the state? Police, violence, and urban poverty in Brazil. The Annals of the Association of American Geographers 104(6): 1239-1255.

Garmany, J. (2013) Slums, space, and spirituality: Religious diversity in contemporary Brazil. Area 45(1): 47-55.

Garmany, J. (2012) Spaces of displacement and the potentialities of (post)citizenship. Political Geography 31(1): 17-19.

Garmany, J. (2011) Drugs, violence, fear, and death: The necro and narco-geographies of contemporary urban space. Urban Geography 32(8): 1148-1166.

Garmany, J. (2011) Situating Fortaleza: Urban space and uneven development in northeastern Brazil. Cities 28(1): 45-52.

Garmany, J. (2010) Religion and governmentality: Understanding governance in urban Brazil. Geoforum 41(6): 908-918.

Garmany, J. (2009) The embodied state: Governmentality in a Brazilian favela. Social and Cultural Geography 10(7): 721-739.

Garmany, J. and Maia, F. B. (2008) Considering space, politics, and social movements: An interview with João Pedro Stedile, a leader within Brazil’s O Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra (the MST). Antipode 40(2): 187-191.



Garmany, J. (2014) Social unrest and new patterns of urban segregation in Brazil. New Left Project, 13 February.

Garmany, J. (2013) Football, politics, and protest in Brazil. openDemocracy, 5 July.

Garmany, J. (2012) Between global and louco: The geography of teaching globalization. Association of American Geographers Newsletter 47(8): 11.


Selected Grants and fellowships


SBE/RCUK Lead Agency Agreement, £561,778 ($802,320) – Co-Primary Investigator.

Newton Fund / FAPESP visiting researcher grant, £2,400 ($3,700).


British Academy/Leverhulme Foundation Social Science Research Grant, £9,400.


Governance without government: Explaining order in a Brazilian favela. Andrew W. Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowship. $US 25,000.

Governance without government: Explaining order in a Brazilian favela. Andrew W. Mellon/ACLS Research Grant (as part of the Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowship). $US 3,000. PI.

UA Excellence Graduate Fellowship under the AHSS: Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences Graduate Fellowship Program. $US 10,000.


Governance without government: Explaining order in a Brazilian favela. National Science Foundation (DDRI). $US 11,967. PI.

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