A Horizon of (Im)possibilities

A Chronicle of Brazil’s Conservative Turn
Edited by Katerina Hatzikidi and Eduardo Dullo
15 September 2021
229 × 152 mm
256 pp
Paperback: 978-1-908857-89-7
PDF: 978-1-908857-92-7

The 2018 presidential election result in Brazil surprised and shocked many. Since then, numerous debates and a growing body of texts have attempted to understand the country’s so-called ‘conservative turn’.

A gripping in-depth account of politics and society in Brazil today, this new volume brings together a myriad of different perspectives to help us better understand the political events that shook the country in recent years. Combining ethnographic insights with political science, history, sociology, and anthropology, the interdisciplinary analyses included offer a panoramic view on social and political change in Brazil, spanning temporal and spatial dimensions. Starting with the 2018 presidential election, the contributors discuss the country’s recent –or more distant– past in relation to the present. Pointing to the continuities and disruptions in the course of those years, the analyses offered are an invaluable guide to unpacking and understanding the limits of Brazilian democracy, including what has already come to pass, but also what is yet to come.


"Rich and eclectic... It is highly unlikely you will read this book without uncovering new questions about an important phenomenon – the rise of a new, authoritarian, and populist right - that is both distinctly Brazilian and global.”
-Anthony W. Pereira (King's Brazil Institute)

“A ground-breaking volume that will impact the field of far-right and Latin American studies.”
–Rosana Pinheiro Machado (University of Bath)

“Fundamental reading for understanding the rise of the far-right in contemporary Brazil.”
-Sean T. Mitchell (Rutgers University-Newark, and author of ‘Constellations of Inequality: Space, Race, and Utopia in Brazil')

“An illuminating picture of Brazilian society.”
-Martijn Oosterbaan (Utrecht University)

"A model of how collaborative social science can be conducted in the decolonial world of today."
 -Ramon Sarró (University of Oxford)

"Rich and insightful... Reading across these chapters, one thing becomes clear: although Jair Bolsonaro's presidency is harming marginalized communities, his rise is not an aberration in Brazilian political culture. Rather, he is the natural-born son of this beloved but paradoxical country deeply marked by inequalities, violences, and a long authoritarian tradition."
-Amy Erica Smith (Iowa State)

"The authors carefully reveal how the emergence of a new conservative right in Brazil is actually not a new phenomenon, but the continuity of an authoritarian culture that inhabits Brazilian society and sociability in a diffuse and perennial way."
-Roberta Bivar C. Campos (Federal University of Pernambuco)

Table of contents: 
Carly Machado

Introduction: Brazil’s conservative return
Katerina Hatzikidi and Eduardo Dullo

Looking back: How did we get here?

1. The past of the present
Lilia Moritz Schwarcz

2. Denied recognition: threats against the rights of quilombola communities
José M. Arruti and Thaisa Held

3. From Orkut to Brasília: the origins of the New Brazilian Right
Camila Rocha

4. Ritual, text and politics: the evangelical mindset and political polarization
David Lehmann

The horizon ahead: Where are we going?

5. After affirmative action: redrawing colour lines in Brazil
Graziella Moraes Silva

6. From participation to silence: Grassroots politics in contemporary Brazil
Andreza Aruska de Souza Santos

7. Development opportunity or national crisis? The implications of Brazil’s political shift for elite philanthropy and civil society organising
Jessica Sklair

8. Politics and collective mobilisation in post-PT Brazil
Jeff Garmany

Conclusion: Shifting horizons
Katerina Hatzikidi and Eduardo Dullo

Afterword: No matter who won, indigenous resistance will always continue
Taily Terena, João Tikuna, Gabriel Soares