Sabrina Fernandes wins the 2018 Outstanding Dissertation Prize

CALACS Outstanding Dissertation Prize 2018 Winner

 It is with great pleasure that CALACS announces the recipient of the 2018 CALACS Outstanding Dissertation Award:

 Sabrina Fernandes, Ph.D.

 Crisis of Praxis: Depoliticization and Leftist Fragmentation in Brazil.” 2017

Dept. of Sociology, Carleton University

Supervisor: Dr. Justin Paulson, Dept. of Sociology and Anthropology

External Examiner: Dr. Robert Sean Purdy, University of Sao Paolo

 The purpose of the CALACS Outstanding Dissertation Prize is to provide recognition to an emerging scholar who has significantly advanced our understanding of Latin America or the Caribbean.

 The Outstanding Dissertation Prize committee commends Dr. Fernandes´ Ph.D. dissertation, which presents a comprehensive, organized and cogent explanation of the main theoretical arguments in the analysis of the fragmentation of the radical, left in Brazil.

Her thesis is highly original, as it introduces innovative theoretical concepts such as “post-politics”, “ultra-politics” and “melancholia” to explore the struggles of left political parties and social movements, and contributes greatly to studies on the Latin American left, workers’ and social movements (including the Pink Tide governments) through extensive empirical evidence.


Crisis of Praxis: Depoliticization and Leftist Fragmentation in Brazil

This dissertation focuses on two problems in Brazilian left politics: fragmentation and depoliticization. There is consensus inside the Brazilian left regarding its fragmentation, but the scenario requires a careful analysis of fragmentation since the conjunctural change of June 2013. The same can be said about depoliticization, explained here through the phenomena of post-politics and ultra-politics, and which is arguably the marker of the difficulties the left has found to mobilize the working class even as this class is under attack. This dissertation fills the gap in the literature by addressing these two problems from the Gramscian-influenced perspective of a crisis of praxis. The concept of a crisis of praxis is proposed to attend to the misalignment between theory and practice at the leftist organizational level that has led to melancholia and distance from the consciousness of the class, despite the potential held by new mobilizations – both spontaneous and organized. It is argued that without properly addressing fragmentation and depoliticization, the left will have trouble appealing to the working class, especially given the conclusions of a crisis of representation that was exposed in Brazil in June 2013 and capitalized on by right-wing conservative forces in order to foster political instability in their favour.

 The Outstanding Dissertation Prize will be awarded alongside the CALACS Graduate Essay Prize and the Distinguished Fellow Award during the annual CALACS Congress, at the Université du Québec à Montréal, May 16-18, 2018 from 4:45-7:00pm at Salle Polyvalente SH-4800.

Dr. Fernandes will present a paper related to her dissertation at the Congress as part of the panel Enjeux économiques et politiques du Brésil on May 17 from 8:30-10:00am at SH-3140.

The evaluation committee congratulates all of the nominees for the outstanding quality of their dissertations, and thanks them and their nominators for participating in the competition. The committee expressed that the work submitted this year speaks well for the state of Latin American and Caribbean Studies in Canada. 

The CALACS Board of Directors further expresses its gratitude to the evaluation committee for its service to the Association in completing this important task.