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Life Beside the State: Refusing citizenship in Rio de Janeiro's Pentecostal Subúrbios

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Configurations of citizenship – or ‘insurgent citizenships’ (Holston 2008) – are often theorized as emerging specifically from ‘the peripheries’, in zones of exception where citizenship status cannot be taken for granted. In these cases, individuals and communities – sometimes jointly, sometimes independently – must strategize and construct novel ways of becoming an ‘included’ citizen, as opposed to an ‘excluded’ subject whose exclusion enables the constitution of formal citizens. Based on over three years of ethnographic research within Rio de Janeiro’s Western subúrbios, this seminar will consider a different kind of case: What happens when prevailing logics of citizenship and right-based terrains of political engagement are reconfigured by a globalized and mobile Pentecostalism that reframes experiences of state abandonment, renders ‘the periphery’ a fallacy, and extinguishes any call for ‘rights’ or citizenship in the traditional sense? While the anthropology of citizenship has certainly broadened our conception on the relationship between subject and state, what ‘ways of being’ might have been deprioritized along the way?

This talk is part of the CGHR Research Group seminar series. The CGHR Research Group is a forum for graduate students and early-career researchers from any department and disciplinary background researching issues of governance and human rights in the global, regional, and national contexts.

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