The subject, the other, and black political identities among Afro-Brazilians

Antonio José Bacelar da Silva, Alba Riva Brito de Almeida

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study combines anthropology and psychoanalysis to explore the formation of black identities in Afro-Brazilians’ antiracist struggles. Using data from long-term ethnographic fieldwork among black activists in Salvador and current observations of social media, we explore how various antiracist struggles have become discursive microsystems that organize individual identities into collective processes. Beyond analyzing Afro-Brazilian activism as a collective force, it is important to account for the differences between individual black subjects. Since it is through the other that the subject continually experiences itself, we listen to the individual that is embedded in the social field to demonstrate that the struggle between sameness and difference is at the heart of antiracist activism among Afro-Brazilians. As Afro-Brazilians embrace antiracist activism, their black political identities become dialogized, or defined by their position in relation to the other and recognition of how others perceive them in a country where skin color, not ancestry, determines racial difference.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4-18
Number of pages15
JournalSocial Identities
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Afro-Brazilians
  • antiracism
  • blackness
  • identity
  • racial consciousness
  • racism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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