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School violence: a study into the genealogy of attacks

Grant number: 24/01677-9
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctoral
Effective date (Start): April 01, 2024
Effective date (End): March 31, 2025
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Sociology - Other specific Sociologies
Principal Investigator:Sergio França Adorno de Abreu
Grantee:Marcela de Oliveira Nunes
Host Institution: Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas (FFLCH). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:13/07923-7 - Center of the Study of Violence - NEV/USP, AP.CEPID


This project aims to research the attacks on Brazilian schools and the interpretative perspectives on this phenomenon, in order to evaluate the forms of violence perpetrated in the actions and the profile of the individuals involved, i.e. those who promoted the attacks (including intellectual mentors), and their victims. Among the narratives about the possible motivations and explanations for the intensification of attacks in recent years, the explanatory emphasis sometimes focuses on bullying practices and youth culture (Rodrigues, 2012; Vinha, 2023; Unicef, 2023), or easier access to firearms (Unicef, 2023; Langeani, 2023). The intensification of the political-ideological agenda of the extreme right, concomitant with the expansion of action and co-optation of young people by extremist groups, also appears as one of the interpretative paths. Factual data so far shows the following panorama: the 37 attacks were committed by males; the minimum age was 10 and the maximum was 50; the largest number of victims were female and most of the attacks took place in public schools. In the dynamics of violence in schools, much has already been discussed about crime, youth and schools (Zaluar,1992, 2001), property violence and forms of control (Guimaraes, 1984, 1990, 1997), exclusion, school failure and the consequences of symbolic violence (Bourdieu, Passeron 1972; Charlot 1979, 2000, 2001, 2002). However, the attacks are an atypical phenomenon in the Brazilian scenario: since the 1980s, when school violence became an object of study, there had been no occurrence of this type of practice, conducted to promote terror with people being victimized randomly. Some hypotheses and questions have been raised: are the attacks taking on a dimension of justification among these young people? Has there been a change in the form of the attacks over two decades? What are the characteristics of the perpetrators and how many of them were involved in masculinist and/or neo- Nazi groups on the internet? Was there a prior relationship with the victims/targets or was the choice arbitrary? Are there any previous records of violence against the individuals who promoted the attacks? What is the interpretation of the Working Group of Experts on Violence in Schools (MEC) on the phenomenon? Is it possible to establish a link between the increase in attacks and the political situation in recent years? These are some of the guiding questions that will drive this research. At the same time, the results of the research will support actions to prevent violence and promote human rights with the Human Rights in Schools Observatory Project (PODHE/NEV-USP). It is therefore essential to understand all the aspects associated with these crimes, in order to better support educational actions in the schools themselves. In turn, working in the schools themselves, through educational actions, can help to better understand the questions raised by the research. (AU)

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