Centripetal force: a totalitarian movement in contemporary Brazil
The mass movement that made Bolsonaro is driven by the redemptive promise of resolving Brazil’s social conflicts and ending its social differences: Bolsonarismo will create a community of equals in a Christian fatherland. It is a political phenomenon that seeks a major shift away from modern politics: instead of party mediation, a mass movement; instead of the law, male honour; instead of representation, identity; instead of pluralism, the brotherhood; instead of the Constitution, the Gospel; and, finally, in the place of communicative reason, raw violence. Its defining characteristic is aversion to difference. The article describes and analyses the contours of the movement, as well as the shock its success has produced among the elites and intelligentsia. It draws from ethnographical research in Brazil’s urban peripheries to identify the forces that have driven Bolsonaro forward. And it highlights the central elements of the cyclical crisis that Brazil is experiencing in 2020, and its possible consequences.
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