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The passional violence of racism: modal and tensive configurations: semiotic studies

Grant number: 16/02981-7
Support Opportunities:Scholarships abroad - Research
Effective date (Start): September 02, 2016
Effective date (End): March 01, 2017
Field of knowledge:Linguistics, Literature and Arts - Linguistics - Linguistic Theory and Analysis
Principal Investigator:Iara Rosa Farias
Grantee:Iara Rosa Farias
Host Investigator: Francesco Marsciani
Host Institution: Escola de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas (EFLCH). Universidade Federal de São Paulo (UNIFESP). Campus Guarulhos. Guarulhos , SP, Brazil
Research place: Università di Bologna, Italy  


In 2015, the United Nations (UN) launched the International Decade for People of African Descent (resolution 68/237). This action marked the continuous search for the recovery of the history of African descendants, and also of the African people, as well as recognizing their role in the construction of world history. In Brazil, in the same year, one of the actions promoted by the SEPPIR (Racial Equality Promotion Policies Department, in a free translation) was the launch of a public notice to finance projects aiming at consolidating the Racial Equality Promotion National System, combating racism and promoting law 10639/2003. Such State action has been established because racism and racial prejudice are still common discriminatory practices. Intending to contribute to the discussion of this subject, from a discursive perspective, we intend to take discriminatory practices inside a network of meanings which establish intersubjective relations in our society. From this point of view, we will take racism, prejudice and discrimination as passions to be analyzed and described. The interest in passions is not recent; Philosophy discusses how they constitute feelings and human reactions. Aristotle, in Rhetoric, takes passions as something that, when causing changes in individuals, result in judgment and that, even after it, continue to provoke states of the soul. It is interesting to notice that, in the philosopher's work, passions are connected to the discursive ethos, for they were bound to the aspects of the art of oratory. From this point of view, passion has its roots in the speaking, that is, in the word that affects more or less intensely the interaction of individuals. From the 1980s on, French Semiotics has been developing the study of the passions in the discursive ambit, that is, in the domains of language. We see, then, a concern with treating them as lexicalized passions. The study of Despair (Fontanille, 1980) is the initial milestone in the analysis of the passions in the French theory from the point of view taken. From there on, Semiotics researchers have been seeking to present the courses and the composition of some passions, attending to their lexical configurations, implied modalities, aspectualisations and tensivity which constitute passionate individuals present in different texts. For the theory, understanding a society's texts is understanding the society itself and its values, as ideas, opinions, moral and ethics which base it. It is through the perspective of the French theory study of the passions that we want to treat the terms racism, prejudice and discrimination and states of the soul, pointing out their structure present in texts which circulate in our society. The notion of passion will help to explain and make explicit how these concepts may present a micronarrativity which, in turn, models the interpretations and the intersubjective relations. In other words, this project intends to constitute a study which will treat racism and the other mentioned terms as passions, attempting to unveil their lexical and modal structures, at first. After that, we will also observe the points of structural convergence and divergence between the concepts. Then, we will attend to their tensive modulations, according to the studies of Zilberberg (1994, 2006, 2012). Finally, we will broach racism, and their configurations, observing its figurativisations in texts presented in social media or sincretics texts. We believe such a study may contribute to the development of the theory of the passions in French Semiotics and for the formation of professionals who work at the deconstruction of discriminatory discursive practices. (AU)

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