CIPR | Center For Inter-American Policy & Research

Tulane University

Political Protest and Democratic Crisis in Brazil and Argentina

February 13th, 2020
11:00 AM - 12:15 PM

Location
Jones Hall, 100, Greenleaf Conference Room

The panel will include two presentations: “The new pattern of democratic crisis in Brazil and Argentina,” by Leornardo Avritzer (UFMG, Brazil), and “The Brazilian 2013 Protests: identity, repertoire and democracy,” by Ricardo Fabrino Mendonça (UFMG, Brazil). Co-sponsored by the Center for Scholars, the Stone Center, and the Center for Inter-American Policy & Research (CIPR).

Leonardo Avritzer, Professor in Political Science, Federal University of Minas Gerais, Brazil
Presentation Title: “The new pattern of democratic crisis in Brazil and Argentina”
Presentation Abstract: The aim of the paper is to show that there is a new pattern of democratic crisis in South America, that is different from the previous one that took place in the 1950s, 1060s and 1970s. The difference is that we do not have an external actor, such as the military, breaking democratic rules, but we still have anti-democratic actors, who have been able to establish a process of political competition in both Brazil and Argentina. But still the pattern of political competition is subjected to disruption. In the case of Argentina, the destructive cycles of the Peronists that are no longer challenged by the military but challenge non-Peronist political actors. And, in the case of Brazil, recurrent impeachment processes. The aim of the paper is to ground this new process of democratic crisis in a new democratic cycle in which there is no breakdown of democracy, but there is a degradation of the rules of democratic sovereignty.

Ricardo Fabrino Mendonça, Fulbright Visiting Scholar, University of California Irvine, Professor in Political Science, Federal University of Minas Gerais, Brazil
Presentation Title: “The Brazilian 2013 Protests: identity, repertoire and democracy”
Presentation Abstract: This presentation discusses the 2013 demonstrations in Brazil through the lenses of contemporary democratic theory and of current debates within in social movements’ literature. Drawing from 50 semi-structured interviews with participants of that political process and from Facebook interactions, I discuss identity building and repertoires of contention in these multitudinary protests, arguing that their novelty is related to their capacity to be meaningful to very different individuals for diverse reasons. In addition, I suggest a change of repertoire that involves elements of the two historical periods discussed by Charles Tilly in his diagnosis about the emergence of social movements. Contemporary political contention seems to gather the parochial and direct elements of the pre-social movements’ era with the broader and cosmopolitan elements of the social movements’ era. We are, somehow, back to the future and this helps explaining the displacing power of many contemporary protests. Lastly, I draw some implications of these changes to reflect on the current state of democracy in Brazil.

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