Does looting threaten hegemony? An analysis based on a Brazilian case: Guilherme Benzaquen

15th April 2024, 12:30pm-2:30pm
Mithras House G13

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Starting with the question “does looting threaten hegemony?”, the talk aims to reflect on the potentially disruptive character of looting. This form of collective violence is recurrent and, whenever it takes on greater proportions, looting is questioned in relation to its political aspect: is there a politics in looting? Do they reproduce or oppose the capitalist logic? The talk intends to approach this from a debate on hegemony, articulation and the appropriate, thus inserting itself into current post-Marxist debates.

This will be done with an empirical focus on a case of generalised looting that took place in Brazil. In 2014, the Military Police of the state of Pernambuco went on strike. During such period, a series of lootings took place in the city of Abreu e Lima. The town had never experienced anything similar, and its residents were impressed by the way the lootings were carried out. After the event, there were articulations to reconstruct an “appropriate” in the local context. Understanding this process in the context of hegemonic struggles, the objective of this talk is to analyse the collective actions that occurred during and after the lootings, exploring their political character and their articulations and equivalences. The goal is to expose relevant aspects of this relative suspension of daily life and the subsequent dispute over the reconstitution of hegemony in the town.

Guilherme Benzaquen holds a PhD in Sociology from the Federal University of Pernambuco. He did a post-doctorate at the same institution and is currently a professor at the State University of Mato Grosso do Sul. Guilherme Benzaquen has experience in the field of political sociology, with research on social movements, collective violence, critical theory and financialization.

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