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Undressing Corpses – An Archaeological Perspective on State Violence

AuthorsHattori, Márcia Lika CSIC ORCID
KeywordsBrazilian military dictatorship
Repressed bodies
State violence
Issue Date17-May-2021
PublisherEquinox Publishing
CitationJournal of Contemporary Archaeology 7(2): 151-168 (2021)
AbstractThis article explores the disappearance of bodies within the bureaucracy of death in Brazil, including a focus on complicity between the apparatus of repression during the military period and norms of public administration, which aimed to give a veneer of “legality” in cases of disappearance within state institutions. The bureaucracy of death undresses bodies and depersonalizes them, and lack of care over recording details can be a strategy to deny the dead body of an undesirable or unknown person an identity. Making use of autopsy reports for unidentified bodies in São Paulo in the 1970s as an analytical category, I demonstrate how an archaeological perspective can show how a “state of exception” operates on such individuals; in particular, I show how the presence or absence of details about clothing is a significant factor in depersonalization.
Publisher version (URL)
Identifiersdoi: 10.1558/jca.41494
issn: 2051-3429
e-issn: 2051-3437
Appears in Collections:(INCIPIT) Artículos

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