After much controversy, the decree regulating the institution of the Quotas Law in public institutions of higher education in Brazil was published in the Official Diary on 15th October, 2012. Under the new law, at least 50% of seats in public universities must be reserved for applicants who attended high school in public schools entirely. The reservation is based on economic and social criteria. Since its approval, Quotas Law has divided opinions, especially with regard to the reservation of university places for blacks. The history of discussions is long and with the advent of technologies related to genetics, standards of sociability in contemporary Brazil have been discussed also in terms of genetic interpretations. In recent years, genetic studies have been used as an argument to legitimize the adoption of certain laws (as in the case of the Biosafety Law and the decriminalization of abortion of anencephalic fetuses) or to try to invalidate them (as in the example of Quotas Law). Considering the relationship between science and politics in Brazil, this paper aims to discuss the use of genetic ancestry research as a contrary argument to public policy of quotas for blacks in public higher education.

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Science and Politics in Brazil
Genetic ancestry research as an argument against racial quotas in public higher education

Maísa Oliveira   University of Campinas

After much controversy, the decree regulating the institution of the Quotas Law in public institutions of higher education in Brazil was published in the Official Diary on 15th October, 2012. Under the new law, at least 50% of seats in public universities must be reserved for applicants who attended high school in public schools entirely. The reservation is based on economic and social criteria. Since its approval, Quotas Law has divided opinions, especially with regard to the reservation of university places for blacks. The history of discussions is long and with the advent of technologies related to genetics, standards of sociability in contemporary Brazil have been discussed also in terms of genetic interpretations. In recent years, genetic studies have been used as an argument to legitimize the adoption of certain laws (as in the case of the Biosafety Law and the decriminalization of abortion of anencephalic fetuses) or to try to invalidate them (as in the example of Quotas Law). Considering the relationship between science and politics in Brazil, this paper aims to discuss the use of genetic ancestry research as a contrary argument to public policy of quotas for blacks in public higher education.

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