Professor Luisa Farah Schwartzman's new SSHRC-funded research studies struggles over rights in the Brazilian justice system

July 13, 2021 by Victoria Shi

Professor Luisa Farah Schwartzman recently started a new SSHRC-funded research project titled "Bringing Democracy into the Law: Urban Inequalities and Struggles over Rights and Fairness in the Brazilian Justice System."

For this project, Professor Farah Schwartzman and her team of graduate students will investigate the various ways in which different Brazilians negotiate rights and justice. They will focus on four cases: (1) formerly incarcerated teenage girls and their families; (2) legal professionals who seek to create and enforce the law in high-profile white collar and corruption cases (3) public defense lawyers and their clients make rights-claims through the justice system and (4) feminist social movements claiming rights through legislative change regarding femicide (gender violence, often amongst citizens). The project seeks to learn how these particular actors, who have differing goals, social and professional identities and locations in the power structure, work to extend, limit or modify the reach of the law to achieve social justice, through the enhancement of rights or reduction of privileges for themselves or for others. Through this project, Professor Schwartzman and her students will identify the intersections between democratization, struggles over justice, power structures, and the workings of the law in São Paulo, Brazil.

The project was funded through the SSHRC Insight Grant program.This funding opportunity seeks to "support and foster excellence in social sciences and humanities research intended to deepen, widen and increase our collective understanding of individuals and societies, as well as to inform the search for solutions to societal challenges."

Professor Luisa Farah Schwartzman is an Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto. She specializes in the topics of race and ethnicity. In her previous work, she investigated how the classification of race, ethnicity and other social categories influence the reproduction of inequality. Although most of her work is focused on Brazil, she has also done research on other national contexts. Currently, her research addresses the relationship between "the state" and the management of social differences.