Juliana Berger Valente

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

City U. of New York

Grant number

Gr. 10638

Approve Date

September 29, 2023

Project Title

Valente, Juliana (City U. of New York) "Writing Oneself into the Brazilian Nation: The Use of IDs by Criminalized Youth"

This twelve-month ethnographic project will investigate the tensions in Brazil’s current liberal democratic project. To do so, I propose to research how the Brazilian state produces identity documents in an at-times tense dialogue with young subjects portrayed as “at risk” or criminal. I turn to interactions between youth and bureaucrats as they move to co-construct the categories and protocols through which formal inclusion, citizenship, and rights are defined and lived. I suggest that bureaucrats and youth dispute and develop ideas of personhood and belonging to the nation-state. They therefore also negotiate the conditions and experiences of equality under liberal democracy in contemporary Brazil, a democratic nation that demonstrates some of the world’s highest levels of inequality and most creative attempts at both the exclusion and inclusion of marginalized people. I consider some of the contradictions of liberal governance by turning to the dilemmas of equality as both an empirical and conceptual issue. This project takes place at a moment of significant changes and upheaval of Brazilian democratic life. Research that turns to the fault lines of liberal democracy in Brazil pushes social scientific understandings of actually existing democracy and contemporary governance during a moment of deepening political polarization globally.