The Politics of Memory in Brazi by Dr Andreza A De Souza Santos (University of Oxford)

Dr De Souza Santos will be exploring ideas of her new book The Politics of Memory: Urban Cultural Heritage in Brazil (2019).

For her looking at heritage policy-making and grassroot activism is crucial in order to preserve city spaces, representing memories and the use of space.

She writes: “As a political anthropologist, my research is mainly concerned with the intersections and the dynamics between formal and informal political and economic systems. In my ethnography in Ouro Preto, Brazil, I have observed participatory politics (policy councils): who participates in meetings, how do meetings develop, and which impact do participatory politics have in the city? What I have seen is that participating is not the same as voicing concerns, and people may go to meetings but remain silent. Sub-optimal decisions in policy councils are sometimes less costly for participants than confronting established powers in town. Thus, there is a negative relationship between participation and levels of economic dependency. Whereas grassroots politics is a valuable resource to press for urban amenities, it is important to consider which spaces are adequate for effective participation and when poverty mobilizes or discourages participatory politics.”

Dr De Souza returns to her alma mater as she completed her PhD in Social Anthropology at St Andrews.

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