Sociology Faculty Directory

Gustavo Morello

Assistant Professor




I took grades in Philosophy, Universidad del Salvador 1991; Theology, Universidad del Salvador 2007; Master in Social Science, Universidad Nacional de Cordoba 2001; Ph.D. in Social Sciences, Universidad de Buenos Aires 2011.

My research agenda focuses on two main topics in the Latin American context, a) the relation between religion and political violence, and b) secularization. My most recent book explored these complicated links by examining why, in 1970s Argentina, honest religious people didn’t uniformly protest against massive violations of human rights. After an exhaustive analysis of the existing literature, I decided to do this research using a ‘case study’ methodology. I wanted to explore a single case with a magnifying glass, to highlight the nuances, the texture of Catholics’ positions facing political violence. This project was the first to apply case study methodology to Argentina’s Dirty War.

I focused on a group of persons who were kidnapped and tortured in 1976, and the reactions of Catholics to this particular event and to similar instances of political violence across the country. My main finding was that the reactions of Catholics to political violence were varied, and were primarily caused not by their theological background but by a broad range of positions taken toward secularization and modernization. In the process of writing this book, I developed so much expertise on the 1976 incident that the prosecutor asked me to testify in court when the perpetrators were finally brought to trial in May of 2015. Hopefully, the work I have done to understand these historical processes will also help those victims to get justice.

My current research, which has been funded by John Templeton Foundation with a $ 511,000 grant, allowed me to build a research network between BC and three Latin American universities, two of them also Jesuit institutions. We explore the transformations of lived religiosity in urban Latin Americans ( This is a qualitative study that includes an original methodological approach (meaningful objects elicitation), and it will be one of the first comparative qualitative studies on religiosity in Latin America.

My main publications in the last three years have been:
2015  The Catholic Church and Argentina's Dirty War, Oxford University Press, NY.
2014  Dónde estaba Dios? Los católicos y el terrorismo de estado, Ediciones B, Buenos Aires.