Dr. Yanilda Gonzalez (Harvard University)
The talk examines mobilization by the mothers of victims of state violence in Latin America. It develops the concept of resilient citizenship to elucidate how individuals vulnerable to the negation of citizenship and victims of state-induced trauma come to challenge the state socially and politically. Much of the social science literature on policy feedback effects shows that punitive interactions with state institutions convey negative messages about how the state views its citizens, leading to decreased participation and mobilization. Yet, after the death of their children at the hands of the state, many mothers from disadvantaged backgrounds engage in various forms of activism, antagonizing the very state institutions that victimized their children. Drawing on ethnographic work with mothers of victims of extrajudicial killings by state actors in Brazil, the talk seeks to understand this participation in contentious politics by victims of the state.