In defence of human rights: the political-academic experience of the Centre for the Study of Violence, Brazil

Gustavo Higa, Marcos Cesar Alvarez, Roxana Pessoa Cavalcanti

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNChapterpeer-review


This chapter makes a brief incursion through a trajectory of over three decades of activism by the Centre for the Study of Violence at University of São Paulo (Núcleo de Estudos da Violência, 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 twenty-one 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.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Emerald International Handbook of Activist Criminology
EditorsSteve Tombs, Vicky Canning, Greg Martin
PublisherEmerald Publishing Ltd
ISBN (Print)9781802622003
Publication statusPublished - 9 Aug 2023

Publication series

NameEmerald Studies In Activist Criminology


  • authoritarianism
  • Human Rights
  • academic activism
  • violence
  • Brazil
  • Centre for the Study of Violence


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