Dr Andreza Aruska de Souza Santos

I am the director of the Brazilian Studies Programme – Latin American Centre, University of Oxford, where I also teach on  politics and society in Brazil and Latin America. My research and teaching interests include participatory politics, inequalities and local governments. Regions of interest: Brazil, Latin America, South Africa, China and India. I am the author of the book: “The Politics of Memory: Urban Cultural Heritage in Brazil”. I also co-edited the two books: “Urban Transformations and Public Health in the Emergent City” and “African Cities and Collaborative Futures”, both with Manchester University Press. 

Andreza Santos


In September 2018, I joined the Latin American Centre as the Director of the Brazilian Studies Programme and Lecturer in Latin American Studies. I currently teach the courses: Cities and Citizenship in Latin AmericaPolitics in Brazil and Urban Ethnography. Before that, also at Oxford, I was a postdoc in the Urban Transformations team (School of Anthropology), where I coordinated research projects focusing on urban studies in Brazil, China, South Africa and India, this research produced two edited books published by Manchester University Press.

Currently, one of my research activities is in collaboration with the CADDE Centre, looking at local governments response to the COVID-19 Pandemic in Brazil. We have published interdisciplinary research and created collaborations to build open datasets of public interest.  

In addition to research and teaching, I also have policy experience and I worked as a political adviser for the UN in Vienna (UNODC), the Indian Embassy in Brazil, the Brazilian Confederation of Municipalities and the Brazilian Ministry of Social Development. 


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)

While studying in Brazil, Germany, South Africa, India and the UK, I have used research and methods from Political Science, Sociology and Anthropology, as a result, my work is highly interdisciplinary. 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.




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




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


Special Issue Editor

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


Policy Papers

 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). 

Journal Articles

Brizzi, Andrea, (…)  de Souza Santos, A. A., et al. “Factors driving extensive spatial and temporal fluctuations in COVID-19 fatality rates in Brazilian hospitals.” Medrxiv (2021).

Li, S.L. (…) de Souza Santos, A. A. et 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. A. et alEvolution 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 Social Science, (January 2018).

Book Chapters

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.; (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


(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): EstadãoCNN BrasilEl PaísAgência BrasilO TempoIsto 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



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


(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

(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 KCL  Book Discussion ‘Decadent Developmentalism’

(2021) Canal USP O 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


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

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

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

Doing Urban Ethnography, University of Oxford (2017-present)

New Book
(Apply this code for 30% discount: RLINEW19)

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.


All rigths reserved – www.andrezasantos.co.uk