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PPE Speaker Series: “Rebuilding Citizenship After State Violence” with Yanilda González (Harvard)

April 25 @ 6:30 pm - 7:45 pm




This paper examines why and how individuals from disadvantaged sectors of society mobilize in response to these lethal human rights violations committed by state security forces in democracies, drawing on ethnographic evidence from Brazil. It develops the concept of state-induced trauma to characterize the ongoing nature of victimization at the hands of democratic states in particular. Building on a growing literature on victimization and political participation, I propose two mechanisms that elucidate the processes by which individuals who experience state-induced trauma come to engage in collective action against the state. First, I argue that refutation of stigma can serve as an important individual catalyst of mobilization among family members of victims of police violence. Second, I argue that two socialization processes within civil society organizations, namely the construction of shared identities and political learning, serve as collective catalysts of mobilization. I then demonstrate how these specific pathways to mobilization shape how victims’ families mobilize, leading to collective action frames that emphasize intersectional identities in making meaning of state violence and right-based claims-making strategies I call resilient citizenship.

Speaker Bio:

Yanilda María González is an Assistant Professor of Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School. Her research focuses on policing, state violence, and citizenship in democracy, examining how race, class, and other forms of inequality shape these processes.

González’s book Authoritarian Police in Democracy: Contested Security in Latin America (Cambridge University Press, 2020), studies the persistence of police forces as authoritarian enclaves in otherwise democratic states, demonstrating how ordinary democratic politics in unequal societies can both reproduce authoritarian policing and bring about rare moments of expansive reforms. Authoritarian Police in Democracy received the Gregory Luebbert Prize for Best Book in Comparative Politics from the American Political Science Association (2022), as well as the Donna Lee Van Cott Award for Best Book on Latin American Politics and Institutions from the Latin American Studies Association (2022). González received the Clarence Stone Scholar Award from the Urban and Local Politics Section of the American Political Science Association (2022).

González received her PhD in Politics and Social Policy from Princeton University. Prior to joining HKS she was an Assistant Professor at the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago. González previously worked at a number of human rights organizations in the US and Argentina, including the New York Civil Liberties Union, ANDHES, and Equipo Latinoaméricano de Justicia y Género.


April 25
6:30 pm - 7:45 pm
Event Category:


Davie 112