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Albert Hirschman Centre on Democracy

Authoritarianism, Democracy and Political Crises in the Periphery of the Modern Capitalist World-System: the Brazilian Case

Project lead: Ricardo Pagliuso Regatieri

Timeline: 2021

Keywords:  Democracy; Authoritarianism; Political Crises; Coloniality; Brazil

Funding Organisation: Swiss National Science Foundation, Scientific exchange

The research project aims at investigating the connections between dependency, coloniality and crises in the periphery of the modern world-system, analyzing the Brazilian case. It suggests that turmoil in Latin American and Brazilian political life in the twentieth and the twenty-first centuries, such as the coups d’état and the so-called ‘return’ of authoritarianism in the present day, are precisely due to an absence of structural ruptures that characterized their postcolonial history. The resort to these sorts of interventions is aimed at blocking further democratization and increasing the accumulation of capital. Based on the premise that addressing the historical entanglements and the relations of dependency and coloniality are crucial for explaining political crises, coups d’état, impeachments, struggles regarding election results, and conservative and/or authoritarian turns in the periphery of world capitalism, the project specifically focuses on: (1) international networks among the new authoritarian leaders; (2) the outbreak of reactions to modern rationality; (3) reactions to changes in social, racial and sexual hierarchies in Brazil; (4) the position of Brazil within the international division of labour and its natural resources.

The SNSF’s grant will fund Ricardo Pagliuso Ragatieri’s research visit at the Albert Hirschman Centre on Democracy from August 2021 to end of January 2022. This will also allow to establish research networks and academic cooperation between researchers, research groups and institutions from Brazil and Switzerland, especially between PERIFERICAS – Research Group on Social Theories, Modernities and Colonialities, which he leads at the Federal University of Bahia, and the Albert Hirschman Centre on Democracy at the Graduate Institute Geneva.