International Society of Political Psychology

Conference Abstracts

“Welcome to Brazil!” – a discursive analysis of Brazilians talking about refugees in the state of Sã

Szilvia Simai, University of Campinas; Rosana Baeninger, University of Campinas

Conference: ISPP 2011
Affiliation: University of Campinas
Research Area: Political culture, identity, and language

In this paper we ponder the reality of human rights tradition, presuming that any person in principle should be able to grasp the simple truth that people belonging to different national, racial or ethnic groups are equal as humans and have dignity and rights. But, why should we assume that people, unhindered by anything, should see basic human rights principles as a clear and universal truth? Could it be that the human rights approach endows us with more humanity than we really bear? Could it be that our idealized humanity is a normative, moral idea, rather than a psychological and social reality?
This paper ponders these philosophical questions and presents an empirical study conducted in the state of São Paulo, Brazil. The qualitative study follows the discursive work on constructions of refugees in the state of São Paulo. The discursive analysis of the data explains how participants construct and "otherize" refugees and what they think about the Human Rights ideology.