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Preta Ferreira's case: an intersectional perspective on the application of Brazilian Criminal Law

Grant number: 20/10113-0
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): February 01, 2021
Effective date (End): January 31, 2022
Field of knowledge:Applied Social Sciences - Law - Public Law
Principal Investigator:Ana Gabriela Mendes Braga
Grantee:Barbara Vitoria Medeiros Verissimo
Host Institution: Faculdade de Ciências Humanas e Sociais (FCHS). Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP). Campus de Franca. Franca , SP, Brazil


The present study analyses the legal case of Preta Ferreia, a black woman from a low-income family background, who actuates as an activist for the Landless Movement in Brazil (MST). In 2019, as she presided the São Paulo's downtown section of the movement, Ms. Ferreira was accused of extorting local residents of the occupation by charging maintenance fees. This charge led Mr. Ferreira remaining 109 days deprived of liberty. The reflection upon the case of Preta rests on the urgent need of comprehension of the specificities that surrounds all black women regarding the criminal justice system, presenting the possibility to observe the application of the criminal law in Brazil. This possibility presents itself as Preta represents simultaneously innumerous axes of social vulnerability, such as: race, class and gender. For that matter, the main focus of this research is to analyze how Ms. Ferreira understands the Brazilian criminal justice system from an intersectional perspective. To this end, a documental analysis will be carried out based on autobiographical reports, speeches, interviews and case documents. The analysis of the results will be made from a Grounded Theory (GT), undertaking a black feminist epistemology, aiming to highlight Preta's experience as the main focus of the narrative and present vision on the selectivity of the judiciary: the racialization of punishment and criminalization of social movements.

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