Dr. Andreza Aruska de Souza Santos

Andreza Santos


I have a PhD in Social Anthropology from the University of St Andrews and a master’s degree in social sciences jointly awarded by the University of Freiburg (Germany) and the University of KwaZulu Natal, in Durban (South Africa). During my master’s studies, I also had one semester at JNU in India, and prior to that I completed my undergraduate degree in political science from the University of Brasilia. Having studied in Brazil, Germany, South Africa, India, and the UK, I write comparatively about Brazilian politics and city governance.

I currently have four main projects ongoing: 1. Youth propensity to join military careers in a post-pandemic and post-Bolsonaro Brazil; 2.  Economic dependency (especially on mining) and its impact on local governance, gender dynamics, and migration; 3. Citizenship in forest areas (the Amazon); and 4. in collaboration with the CADDE Centre local governments response to the COVID-19 Pandemic in Brazil.

Before joining KCL as the Director of the King’s Brazil Institute, I was a lecturer at the University of Oxford and director of the Brazilian Studies Programme (2018-2023). Before that, I was a postdoctoral researcher at Oxford’s School of Anthropology, where I worked at the Urban Transformations portfolio (ESRC). I also worked at Brazil’s Ministry of Social Development, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (Vienna), at the Indian Embassy in Brazil, and at the Brazilian Confederation of Municipalities.


2011 – 2015. PhD in Social Anthropology, University of St Andrews (UK)

2007 – 2009. MA in Social Sciences, Albert Ludwig University of Freiburg (Germany), University of KwaZulu Natal (Durban, South Africa) and Jawaharlal Nehru University (Delhi, India).

2006 – Visiting Student in Politics and German Language, University of Hamburg (Germany)

2001 – 2005. BA in Political Science, University of Brasilia (Brazil)

My investigation is mainly concerned with the intersections and the dynamics between formal and informal political and economic systems. In my ethnography in Brazil, I have observed participatory politics (Policy Councils): who participates in meetings, how do meetings develop, and which impact do participatory politics have in the city. What I have seen is that participating is not the same as voicing concerns, and people may go to meetings but remain silent. Sub-optimal decisions in policy councils are sometimes less costly for participants than confronting established powers in town. There is a negative relationship between participation and levels of economic dependency. Although grassroots politics is a valuable resource to press for urban amenities, it is important to consider when poverty mobilizes or discourages participatory politics.

A recent essay published in The Architectural review summarizes some of my research interests: https://www.architectural-review.com/essays/redefining-the-brazilian-company-town




De Souza Santos, A. A. (EdufsCar.) (2023), “Memória seletiva – O Patrimônio Cultural e o extrativismo no Brasil”

De Souza Santos, A. A. (2019) “The Politics of Memory: Urban Cultural Heritage in Brazil”Rowman & Littlefield International.

De Souza Santos, A. A. and Keith, M.  (eds.) (2021), “African Cities and Collaborative Futures: Urban Platforms and Collaborative Logistics.Manchester University Press.

De Souza Santos, A. A. and Keith, M. (eds.) (2020), “Urban Transformations and Public Health in the Emergent City.” Manchester University Press.


de Souza Santos, A. A. et al. (2020), SARS-CoV-2 non-pharmaceutical interventions in Brazilian municipalities, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.vdncjsxs2

de Souza Santos, A. A. et al. (2024), Relationship between mineral extraction, oil extraction, and agribusiness with employability, municipal gross domestic product, and voting data in Brazil
Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.vdncjsxs

Special Issue Editor

de Souza Santos, A. A. (2020), The prism of Brazil: Informal Practices in politics and society, Contemporary Social Science   

Journal Articles

Li, Sabrina (…) de Souza Santos, A. A., et al. The Brazilian COVID-19 vaccination campaign: A modelling analysis of socio-demographic factors on uptake.  BMJ Open (Jan 2024).

Hill, Sarah (…) de Souza Santos, A. A., et al. “Climate and land-use shape the spread of zoonotic yellow fever virus Nature (in Review, 2022).

Brizzi, Andrea (…) de Souza Santos, A. A., et al.“Spatial and temporal fluctuations in COVID-19 fatality rates in Brazilian hospitals. ” Nature Medicine (May, 2022).

De Souza Santos, A. A. “Informal practices in politics and society in Brazil” Contemporary Social Science (March, 2022).

Mee, Paul, (…) de Souza Santos, A. A., et al. “Tracking the emergence of disparities in the subnational spread of COVID-19 in Brazil using an online application for real-time data visualisation: a longitudinal analysis.The Lancet Regional Health (December, 2021).

 Li, S.L. (…) de Souza Santos, A. A. et al.,  “Social and racial inequalities as contributing factors to COVID-19 in São Paulo, Brazil“. International Policy Centre (May 2021). 

Li, S.L. (…) de Souza Santos, A. Aet al., “Higher risk of death from COVID-19 in low-income and non-White populations of São Paulo, Brazil“. BMJ Global Health (April, 2021).

De Souza Santos, A. A. & Petherick, Anna. “Challenges of Creating Open Datasets about COVID-19 Policies in Brazil” LASA Forum (April, 2021).

De Souza Santos, A. A. et al. “Dataset on SARS-CoV-2 non-pharmaceutical interventions in Brazilian municipalities“. Nature Scientific Data (March, 2021)

Sabino, E. C. (…) de Souza Santos, A. A. et al. “Resurgence of COVID-19 in Manaus, Brazil, despite high seroprevalence“.The Lancet (Jan, 2021).

Buss L.F. (…) de Souza Santos, A. A. et al. “Three-quarters attack rate of SARS-CoV-2 in the Brazilian Amazon during a largely unmitigated pandemic “. Science (Dec, 2020).

De Souza W.M., Buss L.F. (…) de Souza Santos, A. A. et al. Epidemiological and clinical characteristics of the COVID-19 epidemic in Brazil“. Nature Human Behaviour (July, 2020).

Candido D., Claro I. (…) de Souza Santos, A. Aet al.Evolution and pandemic spread of SARS-CoV-2 in Brazil“.Science (July, 2020).

De Souza Santos, A. A. and Payne, Leigh A. “The right-wing backlash in Brazil and beyond”.Politics and Gender (March, 2020).

De Souza Santos, A. A. “Governance challenges in Latin American cities“. Cell Press One Earth (February, 2020)

De Souza Santos, A. A. (with Sue Iamamoto)“Mining legacies in contemporary Potosi and Ouro Preto”JLAG (October 2019).

De Souza Santos, A. A.”Trading time and space: grassroots negotiation in a Brazilian mining district.”Ethnography, (May 2019).

De Souza Santos, A. A. “Risky closeness and distance in two fieldwork sites in Brazil.”Contemporary SocialScience, (January 2018).

Book Chapters

De Souza Santos, A. A. (2023) ‘Unearthing the Buried Past of Brazil’s Former Gold Mines’. In Pusceddu, A. M. & Zerilli, F. M. (eds.) The global life of mines: mining and post-mining in comparative perspective. Berghahn Books.

De Souza Santos, A. A. (2023) ‘In the Name of the Family’: The Evangelical Caucus and Rights Rollbacks in Brazil. In Payne, L; Zulver, J. & Escoffier, S. (eds.) The right against rights in Latin America. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

De Souza Santos, A. A. (2021) “From participation to silence: Grassroots politics in contemporary Brazil”. In Hatzikidi, K  & Dullo, E. (eds.) A Horizon of (im)possibilities: A chronicle of Brazil’s conservative turn. London: ILAS.

De Souza Santos, A. A. (2019) “Risky closeness and distance in two fieldwork sites in Brazil”. In Abdelhalim, J & Marks, M (eds) Identity, agency and fieldwork methodologies in risky environments. Routledge.

De Souza Santos, A. A. and Tom Hulme (2019) “Cultural Marginality and Urban Place Making: the Case of Leicester and Ouro Preto”. In Cupples, J.  & T. Slater (eds.) Producing and contesting urban marginality: Interdisciplinary and comparative dialoguesRowman & Littlefield International.

 De Souza Santos, A. A. (2013) “Chandigarh and Brasilia: utopias or dystopias?” in Fulquet, G. Janz, C., Kumar, A. (eds.) Analyzing Globalisation in the 21st Century. FLACSO & Palm Leaf Publications, New Delhi, pp. 163-174

Book Review

De Souza Santos, A. A (2020) Review of the book “An economic and demographic history of Sao Paulo” by Vidal Luna and Herbert S. Klein. The Journal of Urban History.

De Souza Santos, A. A (2018) Review of the book “The limits to citizen power: Participatory democracy and the entanglements of the state” by Victor Albert. The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute

 De Souza Santos, A. A. (2014, April 9) Review of the book “Space and Society in Central Brazil: A Panará Ethnography” by Elizabeth Ewart. The London School of Economics and Political Science Review of Books


De Souza Santos, A. A.; (20203) Redefining the Brazilian company-town. The architectural review.

De Souza Santos, A. A.; (2020) Sobre ausências e a vã construção de um esquecimento nacional. Nexo Jornal

De Souza Santos, A. A.; (2019) What can we learn from the dam collapse in Brumadinho?, Latin Trade

De Souza Santos, A. A.; (2018) Brazil’s 2018 Elections and the Strength of a Weak Campaign, Sociological Review

De Souza Santos, A. A.; (2018) Amid the furore of Brazil’s 2018 elections: listening for the quiet voices. Latin American Bureau

De Souza Santos, A. A.; (2018) Political Indignation, Protest and Privilege in Brazil, Sociological Review

De Souza Santos, A. A.; (2018) São Paulo’s Deadly Housing Crisis – No Solution in Sight , Urban Transformations

De Souza Santos, A. A.; (2018) Understanding the complex challenges of Brazil’s citiesUrban Transformations 

De Souza Santos, A. A.; (2018) Urban informal settlements: contradiction, promise, and innovationOxford Urbanists

De Souza Santos, A. A.; (2017) Metropolitan health in unequal cities, Urban Transformations

De Souza Santos, A. A.; (2016) Could cultural heritage topple Brazil’s political establishment? Urban Transformations

De Souza Santos, A. A.; Keith, M.; Simcik Arese, N. (2016) How should we plan the cities of tomorrow?  The Conversation 

De Souza Santos, A. A.; Keith, M.;  Simcik Arese, N. (2016) O que podemos dizer sobre o futuro das cidades no Brasil e no mundo?  BBC Brasil

Interview & In the news


(2024) Revista Problemas Brasileiros; Meio ambiente é chave para inserção global.

(2024) BBC Brasil; Dilma Rousseff e a presidente eleita do Mexico.

(2022) TRT World; Brazil’s potential left win.

(2022) Valor Economico; Aumento de preços e achatamento dos salários.

(2022) BBC Brasil; G1; O Tempo; Economic Crisis leading young people to consider military careers

(2021) The Independent: About Bolsonaro and the making of an institutional crisis in Brazil.

(2021)  Jornal UFRGS: A pobreza é uma forma de opressão política.

(2021) BBC News Brasil: Retratos do Brasil com ou sem lockdown.

(2020) STF News: Assinatura de termo da parceria com a Suprema Corte Brasileira.

(2020) Decentralised response to COVID-19 in Brazil (conversation with various media sources):Estadão;CNN Brasil,El País,Agência Brasil,O Tempo,Isto é

(2020) BBC News Brazil: The Government’s threatening tone to the media in Brazil

(2019) CNM Notícias: COVID-19, the vaccine and inequalities in Brazil

(2019) The Lancet: Brazilian development agenda.

(2019) Bloomberg news: Bolsonaro’s Amazon controversy and his UN speech. In Portuguese Uol Noticias.

(2019) Business Insider:Amazon fires and Global outrage

(2019) BBC News Brasil:Brazilian higher education

(2019) BBC News Brasil:Brazilian politics and the country’s image abroad

(2010) Pesquisadores estudam a capital dos novos tempos. Correio Braziliense, p.32 

Podcast Participation

De Souza Santos, A. A. (2024) The Dead River (on Mariana’s Dam Collapse), episode 6.  Spotify 

De Souza Santos, A. A. (2020) The impact of COVID-19 on Brazil. iTunesSpotifySound Cloud

De Souza Santos, A. A. (2020) Hegemonic Narratives (Panel 3). iTunes

De Souza Santos, A. A. (2020) Municipal elections in Brazil (Panel with Anthony Pereira, Timothy Power, Silvana Krause, Nathalia Passarinho and Fernanda Odilla) Youtube

In the news


(2024) BBC World: Protests in Brazil to support former president Bolsonaro.

(2023) BBC World Ineligibility of former President Jair Bolsonaro.

(2023) Radio Student  Brazil’s assault on democracy on 8 January 2023.

(2022) Radio City, ‘Así Amaneció’ Brazil’s election and the lessons for Latin America.

(2020) RFI, Brazil as the new epicentre of COVID-19, political analysis (en español)

(2019) Radio Camara,Mulheres ainda enfrentam dificuldades de ocupacao de postos na politica e em cargos de chefia.

(2019) Deutsche Welle,World Link: Brazil’s Amazon Fires

(2018) BBC Radio 5, Live Breakfast

(2018) Radio Student, on Bolsonaro’s election

Video Interviews and Panels

(2023) My Book Launch: Memoria Seletiva: O patrimonio cultural e extrativismo no Brasil.  

(2023) School of Global Affairs, KCL : The world made me. 

(2023) Minas Gerais Assembleia Legislativa : The impact of mining on cultural heritage

(2023) Wall Street Journal : BRICS and the G7

(2023) Brazil Forum : Política habitacional e desastres urbanos.

(2023) BBC World News : Brazil’s Congress stormed

(2022) Euro News : Brazil’s 2022 elections

(2022) BBC Brasil: O 7 de Setembro de Bolsonaro.

(2022) CNN Brasil: A política no dia-a-dia.

(2022) Globo News : Falta de oferta de trabalho leva o jovem a cogitar a carreira militar.

(2022) Brazil Forum UK University of Oxford : Painel sobre cidades Brasileiras

(2021) ABC News: Why is Bolsonaro targeting the Supreme Court?

(2021) Radio Renascença : O Brazil vive um trauma coletivo.

(2021) Canal UFRGS Aula Magna 2021

(2021) Global Affairs KCLBook Discussion ‘Decadent Developmentalism’

(2021) Canal USPO Combate à Pandemia nos Municípios: Evidência, Política e Incertezas.

(2020) Estado de Minas: O que a ciência aprendeu após um ano de combate ao novo coronavírus?

(2020) TV Justiça: Supreme Courts, Governance and Democracy.

(2020) Globo Jornal Nacional: Brazilians work on internationally leading COVID-19 research.

(2020) Globo Jornal Hoje: Decentralised response to COVID-19 in Brasil.

(2020) Globo Hora 1: Decentralised response to COVID-19 in Brasil.

(2020) Globo News:
Brasileiros na linha de frente das pesquisas em Oxford sobre COVID-19.

(2019) Brazilian House of Commons Panel: Women leadership in local politics and women representation in public service.

(2019) BBC World News

(2019) TV Nova Amazonia, on Academia in Brazil and overseas

(2017) Education in Brazil, panel with Fernando Haddad and Claudia Costin

Current Teaching

Political Economy of Latin America, University of Oxford (2018-19)

Cities and Citizenship in Latin America, University of Oxford (2019-2022)

Urban and Political  Ethnography, University of Oxford (2017 – 2022)

Contemporary Brazil, King’s College London (2023 – Present)

Politics in Brazil, University of Oxford (2019- 2023)

Competing Approaches in Area Studies, University of Oxford (2021- 2022)

Comparative Politics of Latin America, King’s College London (2023- Present)


New Book

Who decides which stories about a city are remembered? How do interpretations of the past shape a city’s present and future? In this book, I discuss the challenges of citizens’ political participation and how the past of cities may be preserved without, however, guaranteeing places a future. The preservation of urban spaces can be selectively meaningful for communities or businesses. How a city interprets, resists, and consents to the functions and meanings that it has inherited and that it reinvents for itself is discussed with a focus on power and politics in Brazil.  Looking at the Brazilian city of Ouro Preto, the limits of Brazil’s imagery of social harmony and participatory democracy amid continuous inequality is explored.  

What did others think of the book?

“It is innovative in its methodological approach (owing to the author’s ethnographic study of historical memory), as well as how it highlights connections between postcolonial development, the role of the state, and discourses of public participation”
Jeff Garmany, School of Social and Political Sciences, University of Melbourne.

“The close-grained ethnographic and historically grounded studies are immensely useful in adding real-world critiques to the burgeoning heritage and urban development policy context” Helle Jørgensen, University of Birmingham.

“This is a rich and sophisticated ethnography of the politics of memory in Ouro Preto written in an easy, flowing style. Drawing on diverse sources and bodies of literature – from heritage studies and political anthropology to in-depth interviews and ethnographic notes based on participant observation to literature and historical archives – this book is of great interest not only to anthropologists, heritage and urban studies specialists, but also to anyone interested in issues of participative democracy, grassroots politics and inequality in contemporary Brazil” Katerina Hatzikidi, University of Oxford and Graduate Institute Geneva; Urban History.

“This well-argued text, supplemented by numerous photographs, has important implications for historians, anthropologists, and preservationists alike” Choice.

“Ethnographer Andreza Aruska de Souza Santos continues the story of Ouro Preto’s evolution, this time as a seat of Brazilian patrimony and cultural tourism painted against the backdrop of the city’s early twentieth-century decline, the rise of a student population, a growing and increasingly alienated populace unwelcome in the city center, and politically charged public policy forums inattentive to local needs”. Ward, E. (2021); The Americas.


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