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Color Violence, Deadly Geographies and the Meanings of “Race” in Brazil

Tue, August 15, 2:30 to 4:10pm, Palais des congrès de Montréal, Floor: Level 5, 512E


The goals of the paper are to examine the role that “race” plays in the vulnerability to violence, in how people perceive and react to their exposure to violence, and in people’s support for violent practices by state or private entities, within the Brazilian context. However, instead of viewing “race” as a uni-dimensional concept, I examine “race” as manifested and measured in three different ways: self-identified “census race”; interviewer-identified skin color, and racial composition of the municipality. Using individual-level data from the AmericasBarometer survey and municipal-level data from the Brazilian census, I find that racialized space and skin color, in interaction with each other, shape experiences of violence, and inform political stances toward legitimizing violent “governing practices.” Nonetheless, once space and skin color is taken into account, the effect racial self-identification (at least according to “census race”) on variables related to violence is often not present or goes in contradictory directions, indicating that classification may be partly a response to living in environments that are racialized and spatially configured in particular ways, which sometimes makes it a weak or contradictory predictor of experiences of, and political responses to, violence.