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The Conservative Backlash: Brazil in Comparative Perspective

Social scientists failed to predict the conservative turn which culminated in Brazil with the 2018 election of a far-right president and several extreme right governors and parliamentarians. Different factors explain the analytical blindness to the conservative counterattack. First of all, the hyper-specialization in disciplinary subfields has created an obstacle to grasp multicausal and socially multisituated transformations as in the case of the conservative moves in different countries. There has also been a lack of methods enabling the following of politics within both virtual bubbles and everyday interactions. Additionally, insufficient attention to similar movements in different world regions has obfuscated common developments as well as right-wing transnational alliances. Finally, the oligarchization of political systems sweeps apace across the world and has had contradictory relations with the emergence of the far-right, stimulating as well as reinforcing it. This nexus has also been overlooked by social scientists.

In the face of these limitations, we decidedly want to discuss the Brazilian case in this symposium from an interdisciplinary, encompassing and comparative perspective. For this endeavor, we have invited experts who have been dedicated to the study of the Brazilian case as well as colleagues who have leant on similar developments in different parts of the world. All in all, we aim to construct both a broader diagnosis of the conservative backlash as observed in different countries, and a common research agenda to further analyze the development and also the political debilities of contemporary far-right actors.

The symposium takes place within the framework of the Anneliese Maier Research Prize awarded by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation to the Brazilian sociologist José Maurício Domingues and is co-organized by the NETSAL/IESP/State University of Rio de Janeiro, the Institute for Latin American Studies of the FU Berlin, the Hamburg Institute for Social Research and Mecila, Maria Sibylla Merian Centre Conviviality-Inequality in Latin America.

Full programme available here.

When: Febraury 17th and 18th 
Where: Latin America Institute, Freie Universität Berlin (Rüdesheimer Str. 54-56, 14197 Berlin, Room 201)