Brasil, 2015 © Ana Guzzo | Flickr
EssaysFeatureLiberal Democracy in Question

A Coup in Brazil, Despite Legal Formalities

The latest political events in Brazil have caused perplexity around the globe. The country once deemed to be not only an emerging global power, but also a positive example of democracy and stability in a region with a long history of political turmoil and authoritarianism, has been engulfed by a deep political crisis. The most immediate result of this crisis has been the ousting of the center-left Workers’ Party government this past March, in power for thirteen years, having won the last four elections in a row. The secondary effects of the crisis have mostly affected minorities and poor people: the interim government, in less than a month, has already dismantled important social policies on cash transfers and housing, and shut down ministries dedicated to agrarian reform, human rights, women’s and racial issues.

While these secondary effects may be seen as even more serious and urgent, as they signal a turn to a bizarre combination of neoliberal policies and conservative moralism,  …

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The embattled President Rousseff © Senado Federal | Flickr
EssaysLiberal Democracy in Question

Friends of Brazil, Foes of Democracy

A response to Heloisa Pait

With her piece “Real Friends of Brazil,” Heloisa Pait seems to suggest a Schmittian reading of contemporary Brazilian politics. In a nutshell, she divides the world in two antagonistic groups. On one side, there are the “real friends of Brazil,” people like her who support the calls for impeachment of democratically-elected president Dilma Rousseff. Following the author’s logic, on the other side there are the “real enemies of Brazil,” people like us, who …

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Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie © John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation | Wikimedia Commons
EssaysLiberal Democracy in QuestionSex & Gender

Women in the Rulings of the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights

Moving beyond the single story

After a long battle with the mainstream of human rights discourse and institutions dating from at least the era of the League of Nations, feminists organized in a transnational movement [1] have succeeded in placing women’s issues at the centre of human rights debates.

Here I want to take a step back from celebrating these achievements and ask: if women are now part of the transnational discourse on human rights, who are these women? How do transnational human rights institutions represent them? Or, put in other words, who is the female subject of transnational legal discourse and what gendered harms are made visible in this arena? …

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Brazil vs. North Korea in the 2010 World Cup © Marcello Casal, Jr. | Agência Brasil
EssaysLiberal Democracy in Question

The Brazilian Discontents behind the World Cup Stage

Se mancha la pelota? (Does the ball get stained?)

In a few days, the eyes of millions of people around the world will be fixed on their TV screens, following a ball rolling in some shining green field in Brazil. They will be expecting to witness one of the most exciting World Cups in history; after all, we Brazilians live in the country of football. But probably very few of these spectators know that more than 250,000 Brazilians had their rights violated and their lives harshly disrupted in the process of making such a sport spectacle possible. Entire communities were evicted to build the facilities for the games and the infrastructure to receive the tourists. The slums and the peripheral neighborhoods of major cities were militarized in a process euphemistically referred to as “pacifying.” Workers were displaced and injured, and died building the new stadiums required by FIFA, while their labor rights remained unobserved. …

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Woman posing with "I don't deserve to be raped" written on her arms for Facebook event protesting misogyny in Brazil. © Unknown | Facebook.com
EssaysSex & Gender

Hard Lessons on Rape Culture: Dispatch from Brazil

“I don’t deserve to be raped! No one deserves to be.” These were the words printed on the signs made by thousands of Brazilian women who decided to join a massive online campaign launched through Facebook some weeks ago. The campaign aimed to protest against the highly misogynist views made public in a recent survey conducted by the Institute of Applied Research and Statistics (IPEA). The data showed that 58% of the interviewed either completely or partially agree that if women knew how to behave, there would be fewer cases of rape, 65.1% agree with the statement that “battered women who stay with their partners like to suffer violence,” and 26% of Brazilians agree with the statement “women wearing clothes showing their bodies deserve to be attacked.” …

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Morumbi Shopping Center in São Paulo © 2009 Herbert Kajiura | Flickr
EssaysRace

Rolezinho: Politics in Brazil’s Shopping Malls?

Since last December, Brazilian shopping malls have become the stage for a new style of youth gathering: the rolezinho. Roughly translated as “little excursions” or outings, the rolezinhos can be characterized as planned meetings (via social network) of a large group of youth from poor neighborhoods, with the intent of seeing each other, flirting, eating and drinking at McDonald’s, taking pictures to post on facebook, and simply having fun. This can be considered a collective action with direct links to at least two different issues that characterize contemporary Brazilian society.

First, rolezinhos cannot be understood without taking into account the almost nonexistence of public spaces for leisure and enjoyment. Coupled with the historic negligence of the Brazilian state to the population’s right to recreation, …

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