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Staff members in the Brazil Institute are currently engaged in a range of exciting research projects.  The Institute is dedicated to interdisciplinary research on some the most important global issues affecting Brazil.

The core members of our staff employ a variety of methods and represent various disciplines including history, economics, geography, political science, comparative literature, and cultural studies.  

Current research projects

Anthony W. Pereira, Director of the Brazil Institute, is involved in two research projects during his sabbatical year of 2016-17.

The first project is a comparative and historical analysis of state formation in Brazil.
This research focuses mainly on the post-World War II history of four federal agencies that have shaped both the nature of citizenship and the political economy in Brazil.
These are the national development bank, the BNDES, created in 1952;
the Federal Police, created in 1944 but reformed on its present basis in 1967;
the Federal Public Ministry, given ample new powers and considerable autonomy in the 1988 Constitution;
and the Ministry of Social and Agrarian Development, established in 2003.

Through an analysis of the particular trajectories of these agencies, this research seeks to explain the unusual capacity and reach of the Brazilian state, as well as understand contemporary debates about its reform.

The second research project, conducted with Ana Margheritis of the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Southampton, is on the drivers and impacts of Brazilian foreign policy.

It looks at the role of domestic political coalitions in the formulation of foreign policy, as well as the diversification of actors - beyond the Foreign Ministry itself - in the monitoring and implementation of policy.

Professor Anthony Pereira's staff profile

Jeff is currently involved with two long-term, interdisciplinary (and multinational) research projects investigating critical development in Brazil. The first is based in Rio de Janeiro, and considers questions of social housing, urban displacement, and ways to address poverty and socio-economic exclusion. He is a Co-Primary Investigator for this project – funded by the ESRC (UK) and the NSF (USA) – which brings together a broad research team of academics and social activists. His second project is based in the state of Ceará and investigates access to water resources and adaptation to climate change in northeast Brazil. This project has recently won funding from a CAPES-Print Institutional Internationalization grant, and combines an interdisciplinary research team from the Federal University of Ceará with several partners from North American and European universities.

These two projects connect directly with his previous work on governance, informality and development in northeast Brazil. Between 2005-2011, he conducted ethnographic fieldwork in the city of Fortaleza, investigating questions of socio-political order in low-income, favela communities. This research focused on governance processes in spaces where, supposedly, the state bears little presence, shedding new light on the relationships between state power and urban informality.

In recent years, his research into state governance, development and informality has expanded to investigate social welfare programmes in Latin America. Between 2013-2015, he conducted fieldwork on Conditional Cash Transfer programmes in northeast Brazil, exploring how biopolitical strategies built into these social welfare programmes intersect with everyday informalities (informal economies, practices, spaces, etc.). His findings suggest that not only do these initiatives produce new relationships between the state and programme recipients, but that modes of production, family and social structures, and citizenship practices are also changing in the wake of these development programmes.

Supported in the past by US funding agencies (e.g. the NSF and the Mellon/ACLS), his more recent research has gained support from several British and Brazilian funding institutions (e.g. The British Academy and Leverhulme Trust; The Economic and Social Research Council; The Newton Fund and FAPESP; and CAPES-Print). Outlets for this work include a host of journals in the field of Geography, as well as his most recent book, Understanding Contemporary Brazil (Routledge, 2019), co-authored with Anthony Pereira.

Dr Jeff Garmany's staff profile


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