Politics of memory of the recent past in Brazil: the federal government’s role in constructing collective memory between 2003 and 2016

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Frías Sampaio, Emmanuel
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Global Campus of Human Rights
Towards the end of the 2010s, the Brazilian federal government once again made discussions about the recent past – regarding the military regime that occurred between 1964 and 1985 – public. This time, however, these discussions are characterized by its revisionism and negationism, with an outlook opposing that built by successive governments in the time since the democratic transition in the country. Beginning with an attempt to understand some of the factors that led to the current scenario, this thesis describes and analyses the politics of memory about the recent past that were promoted by the federal government between 2003 and 2016, during the mandates of the Workers Party (PT), regarding its role in shaping the collective memory in the country. To do this, I studied the historical background research on redemocratization in Brazil and the first public politics of memory between 1985 and 2002. I then focused specifically on the politics of memory during the period under investigation, to finish with an examination the institutional peculiarities in the Brazilian case, made clear in presidential speeches and in internal disputes. This provides a picture of these politics, and the collective memory they created. I used a descriptive qualitative methodology to write this thesis. Although official documents and journalistic sources were the main basis for this research, I used variety of available sources of data and information. This allowed me to undertake an analysis of primary sources – namely laws, decrees, administrative acts, programs, reports, publications, and presidential speeches – linked to the federal government’s action on memory policies. I also had access to various bibliographical collections and research background on the subject addressed, in addition to two interviews. The main question that I sought to answer in this research was: what role did the politics of memory from the federal government between 2003 and 2016 play in constructing memory of the recent past in Brazil? Keywords: politics of memory, transitional justice, collective memory
LATMA - Master’s Programme in Human Rights and Democratisation in Latin America and the Caribbean, University of San Martin (Buenos Aires)
Global Campus - Latin America-Caribbean
Second semester University: University of Buenos Aires
collective memory, memory, Brazil, transitional justice