Department of Sociology

Eric Enrique Borja

M.A., The University of Texas at Austin

Eric Enrique Borja



Social Media, Social Movements, Collective Action, Race and Ethnicity in Brazil, Political Sociology, Education, Quantitative Methods, Qualitative Methods.


I entered the department in Fall 2011. I grew up in Long Beach, CA and my family is originally from El Salvador. Currently, my research focus is on social media and social movements in Brazil, as well as Race and Ethnicity in Brazil. My research, so far, has been funded by both the Summer and Academic Year Foreign Language Area Studies (FLAS) fellowships, a SSRC grant and grants by the UT Soc department. I am a PRC Trainee, an affiliate of the Ethnography Lab and the current editor of the UT Soc Blog. I am also an organizer for the Power, History and Soceity (PHS) Network - a work group that organizes talks, brown bags and workshops for graudate students who do comparative research, and who are interested in the subfield of political sociology.

MA Thesis abstract on social media and social movements in Brazil:

Title: How the Hashtag Revolutionizes the Way we Collectively Contend for our Interests.

Political contention has entered a new age. Over the past three years unprecedented large-scale movements have challenged states across the globe, and social media has been an important component in their development and articulation. With the advent of social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, ordinary people have the technological ability to instantaneously transcend space, time and resources (Aouraugh and Alexander 2011; Castells 2012; Earl and Kimport 2009, 2011; Eltantawy, Nahed and Wiest 2011; Gerbaudo 2012; Hands 2011; Holmes 2012; Mason 2012). Are we currently living in a historical moment where a new repertoire of contention is emerging? If so, how is social media changing the way we collectively contest for our interests? The theoretical framework I propose in this paper advances and elaborates a social geographic approach in the framing of political contention that emphasizes the importance of the spatiality and temporality created by the hashtag (#) in the development and articulation of today’s social movements. In addition to secondary sources about the protests in Brazil (#VemPraRua), I draw on participant observations to analyze a new modular form of protest I call the “hashtag movement.” I claim that the hashtag creates a new space/time (Massey 1992, 2007; Soja 1996) that fundamentally shifts the process of nation-ness (Anderson 2006) and marks a new phase in the mediazation of modern culture (Thompson 1991); two fundamental shifts that I argue are comparable to the structural and cultural shifts that formed the modern repertoire of contention (Della Porta and Diani 1999; McAdam 1999; McAdam, Tarrow and Tilly 2001; Sewell 1990, 1996; Swidler 1986; Tarrow 1993, 1994; Tilly 1986, 1995a, 1995b; Young 2002).

Introduction to a research proposal for a collaborative, mixed-methods, project with Dr. Leticia Marteleto and fellow graduate student Katherine Jensen:

The construction of race and ethnicity in Brazil is a fluid process that has been shown to vary with the sociopolitical climate (Marx 1998; Telles 2004; Bailey and Telles 2006; Schwartzman 2007; Bailey 2008; Marteleto 2012). In August 2012, President Dilma Rousseff signed a bill making it mandatory for all federal universities in Brazil to reserve places in each degree program for students graduating from public schools, according to their family incomes and their ethnic profile. This bill marked a historic moment for Brazil that is reflective of both a government and a society willing to remedy the disadvantages associated with class, race and ethnicity. Therefore, we propose a study that utilizes a mixed-method approach to study how families navigate the process of racially classifying their children. The question guiding this research is: how do gender, class, family structure and education affect a child’s classification?

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