Benjamin Junge is associate professor of anthropology at the State University of New York at New Paltz. Junge is a cultural anthropologist with specialization in the study of gender, sexuality, social movements, citizenship, religion, health and class. His primary research site is Brazil, where he has conducted several published studies about gender, citizenship and grassroots politics. In addition, he has published widely around HIV prevention among drug users in the United States. He is currently Lead PI on a three-year, three-city anthropological study of class mobility in Brazil, funded by the National Science Foundation.

Project Summary

Dr. Junge’s research and fellowship writing projects center on the complex political subjectivities of Brazil’s “previously poor”—the estimated 35 million people who rose above the poverty line during a recent period of economic growth (2003-2011) and came to be contentiously referred to as the “new middle class.” Junge’s empirical investigation of this group (funded under a three-year grant from the National Science Foundation) was undertaken during the economic downturn and conservative political shift that began around 2013 and which has spawned unprecedented cynicism around politics and democracy. In examining political subjectivities, Junge considers how “new middle class” Brazilians understand themselves as citizens, their expectations of the state, and their interest in civic action. A cultural anthropologist, Junge examines political subjectivity ethnographically from the vantage point of everyday-life experience, where it inevitably intersects with other dimensions of identity, behavior, and community, including along the lines of gender, race, ethnicity, and religion.

Major Publications

Junge, Benjamin. Cynical Citizenship: Gender, Regionalism, and Political Subjectivity in Porto Alegre, Brazil. University of New Mexico Press, 2018.
Junge, Benjamin. “‘The Energy of Others’: Narratives of Envy and Purification among Former Grassroots Community Leaders in Porto Alegre, Brazil.” Latin American Research Review, vol. 49, no. S, 2014, pp. 81–98.
Junge, Benjamin. “NGOs as Shadow Pseudo-Publics: Grassroots Community Leaders’ Perceptions of Change and Continuity in Porto Alegre, Brazil.” American Ethnologist, vol. 39, no. 2, May 2012, pp. 407–24.