This chapter makes a brief incursion through a trajectory of over three decades of activism by the Centre for the Study of Violence at the University of São Paulo (Núcleo de Estudos da Violência in Portuguese, NEV) in Brazil, recovering the legacy of its forms of activism and academic reflection while analysing the interfaces between violence and democracy in Brazil. The 1980s in Brazil were marked by expectations of profound political and social changes in the context of democratic transition. After 21 years of dictatorship (1964–1985), the military gradually withdrew from government, returning the state’s executive branch to civilian representatives. This was a moment of optimism for progressive groups and social movements, which had fought to dismantle the tradition of arbitrariness and violations of rights perpetrated by the state during the military dictatorship. In this context, NEV was founded as a research unit linked to the Faculty of Philosophy, Letters and Human Sciences. Its core academic objective was to analyse and scientifically denounce the conjuncture of violence and human rights violations that remained recurrent; consequently, it demonstrated the continuity of unequal power relations, social and cultural practices that fuel authoritarianism in times considered not authoritarian.
Cavalcanti thanks the University of Brighton for the Sabbatical awarded in 2021. Higa and Alvarez thank the University of São Paulo and the Centre for the Study of Violence for all support.
Higa, G.L., Alvarez, M.C. and Cavalcanti, R.P. (2023), "In Defence of Human Rights: The Political-Academic Experience of the Centre for the Study of Violence, Brazil", Canning, V., Martin, G. and Tombs, S. (Ed.) The Emerald International Handbook of Activist Criminology (Emerald Studies in Activist Criminology), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 109-122. https://doi.org/10.1108/978-1-80262-199-020231008
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