Virginia Vecchioli

Virginia Vecchioli has obtained her Ph.D. in social anthropology from the Museu Nacional, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) and made post-doctoral studies at the École Normale Supérieure at Paris (France). She was visiting professor at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul and at the Federal University Rio de Janeiro. Virginia works as a full-time professor at the Federal University of Santa Maria (Brazil). She teaches at the Ph.D. Program in Social Sciences and at the Master Program in Cultural Inheritance where she also coordinates the Ethnography Laboratory on Contemporary Politics (LEPAC). Her research interest includes activism in humanitarian causes, with special emphasis on legal professionals and the civil associations integrated by victims and their relatives. Recently she also focused on the activism of right-wing sectors that justify military dictatorship, recover the symbols of the human rights movement to vindicate the victims of terrorism from the far left or criticize current democratic governments in Argentina and Brazil. She also developed different initiatives among the field of forensic anthropology in Argentina and Brazil and received a prize from the Argentinean Federal Ministry of Culture because of her engagement in producing a digital interactive device that reconstructs an extermination center used by the military dictatorship during the seventies.  She is associated at the Brazilian Network of Researchers of Sites of Memory and Consciousness and the International Association of Genocide Scholars.  She developed projects with the EEC and with Universities in Spain, Belgium and Holland.

Publications (selection)

(2023). As hierarquias da desgraça: A produção social de vítimas e os dilemas morais em torno do merecimento” em Werneck, A. e L. Ferreira (org.). Questões de moral, moral em questão: estudos de sociologia e antropologia das moralidades.   Rio de Janeiro: Mórula, 2023. ISBN 978-65-81315-56-6.

(2022) with E. Fioravanti. “Memorias difíciles: recordar a las víctimas del terrorismo y reivindicar la lucha contra la subversión” En: Memórias em tempos difíceis / Darlan De Mamann Marchi e Jaime Alberto Bornacelly Castro (Orgs.). [Recurso eletrônico] Porto Alegre: Casaletras; Pelotas: PPGMP/UFPel, 2022. 270 p. ISBN: 978-65-86625-40-0

(2021) “Les victimes du terrorisme d’État et la gestion du passé récent en Argentine.”   Revue des Sciences Sociales. Université de Strasbourg. 65/2021. Dossier : Regulation des conflictes et sortie de la violence. Pag. 132-143.

(2021). Políticas de memoria: herramientas estratégicas para su estudio. Em: Carlos Arthur Gallo (org). Nas trincheiras da memória: lutas pelo passado, políticas de memória e justiça de transição no Sul da Europa e na América do Sul. Editora Oficina Raquel. Rio de Janeiro. ISBN: 9786586280692. Pág. 24 a 54.

(2020). “Las víctimas del terrorismo de Estado y la gestión del pasado reciente en la Argentina” En: Guber y Ferrero (Ed) Antropologías hechas en Argentina. Volumen II. Ed. Asociación Latinoamericana de Antropología. SBN 978-9915-9333-1-3. Pág. 591-612.

(2020) with E. Fioravanti. “Las demandas de memoria, verdad y justicia en el testimonio público de los responsables del terrorismo de Estado en Argentina” Dossier Usos y destinos del testimonio en Latinoamérica Revista Desacatos. Ciesas.  México. Aῆo 21 Nro. 62.  Enero 2020.  Pág. 54-71.:

(2019). “Uma história social da expertise em direitos humanos: trajetórias transnacionais dos profissionais do direito na Argentina” Dossiê Direitos Humanos, História e Memória. Bruno Groppo e Tatyana Maia (org.) Revista Estudos ibero-americanos. Vol. 45 Nº 1 Porto Alegre. PUC-RS Pág. 17-28. Disponível em

(2018). “Deserving victimhood. Kinship, emotions and morality in contemporary politics”.  Dossiê: Gramáticas da Pós-violência: identidades, guerras, corpos e fronteiras. Vibrant. Virtual Brazilian Anthropology. Vol.15 N 3. Brasilia. Brasil. ABA. INSS 1809-4341. DOI 10.1590/1809-43412018v15n3d506. Disponível em:

(2018). “Usos del documental interactivo y las tecnologías transmedia en la recreación de los centros clandestinos de detención de la dictadura argentina”. En: Antípoda. Revista de Antropología y Arqueología. Universidad de los Andes. Colombia. 33: Pág. 79-100. ISSN: 1900-5407


Research project as CALAS fellow (transatlantic tandem with Zoltan Kékesi)

Title: Why Perpetrator Memory Matters? A Trans-Generational Approach to Understanding Multiple Legacies of Perpetratorship in Central Europe and Latin America

Abstract: The recent rise of right parties and right social movements in Latin American and Central European countries involves different political and civic challenges. The progressive consolidation of a public agenda that vindicates the demands of those who favor authoritarian regimes of the past is particularly alarming, as can be seen especially in the cases of Hungary, where autocracy has recently replaced liberal democracy, and in Brazil, where former President Bolsonaro denied the existence of crimes against humanity committed by the Armed Forces in the period 1964-1983 and referred to the coup d'état with the expression “64’s Revolution”. In countries with fascist and/or authoritarian pasts we see the consolidation of right-wing agendas (Hungary) and the electoral success of far-right parties in more stable democracies, such as the AfD in Germany or the FPÖ in Austria. In Argentina, the shocking electoral triumph of the party La Libertad Avanza, a political party led by an economist who claims to be an anarcho-capitalist, Javier Milei, and a vice-president who leads the Center for Legal Studies on Terrorism and Victims, a civil association that claims for military members condemned convicted by violation human rights and vindicates a complete memory about the seventies.

The project will analyze the conditions of possibility of the rise of a right-wing public agenda and the crisis of the consensus achieved from the post-war and post-dictatorship periods based on empirical research about the production and transmission of memories that starts with the generation of perpetrators and reaches the younger generations, their descendants. How did the perpetrators and their public intellectuals justify their actions in defense of these regimes? How is the world of values, interests, and relationships to describe that made it not only plausible to support authoritarian regimes but to fully participate in them? In which ways did they contribute to the construction and interpretation of the political reality of that time? How do the political and professional trajectories of the perpetrators and the public intellectuals who supported these authoritarian experiences connect with those of their descendants? How do their descendants position themselves in relation to these conflictual pasts? How are these memories produced among the young generations? What do these youngest generations do with the legacy of perpetrators in their family? Did former fascists and their descendants contribute during their exile in Argentina to consolidate a support network for the dictatorship? Do the current descendants of the Argentine perpetrators contribute to transnational networks of the new rights in the global space? What lessons can be drawn from comparing the experiences of émigrés from countries in Central Europe and perpetrators of South American dictatorships in the face of these authoritarian legacies?

What interests us is to carry out a comparative analysis of these actors and groups, accounting for their trajectories, their position in the social space, their spaces of sociability and networks of relationships in the national space, their participation in transnational networks, in civil associations and political parties, of their publications, public performances and other resources used to mobilize and try to give respectability and moral authority to their claims, of the way in which they evaluate their trajectories—and those of their ancestors—in the postwar and the post-dictatorship eras, and of the public controversies in which they are inserted. It is important for us to understand the involvement of differentiated moral economies among perpetrators and their public intellectuals and among perpetrator’s relatives and descendants.

What moral coercions face those who participate as intellectuals in the public sphere and those who do so as relatives of the perpetrators? Which is the place of enunciation of their demands? What moral categories are activated? What transformations can we identify between the memories of the perpetrators and that of their descendants? In the comparison, we will seek to identify a field of convergence between the different case studies proposed based on the parameters listed here. These convergences will obviously not relate to specific events linked to the holocaust or the dictatorship taken out of context, but to the ways of dealing with the memory of difficult pasts. Analogies will be based on the moral conditions of enunciation of these speeches vindicating authoritarian regimes, the plausibility of these speeches in their respective historical contexts, their public controversies and the position taken by the perpetrators, their supporters, and descendants in the public space. 

Cono Sur y Brazil