Can Lula Stabilize Brazil’s Democracy After Bolsonaro? Holy Cross Expert Shares Insight

Alvaro Jarrin, associate professor of anthropology. Photo by John Buckingham

The Conversation

Newly elected Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva will meet with  President Joe Biden in Washington, D.C. on Friday amid political turmoil and deep divisions in Brazil, including the storming of government buildings in the Brazilian capital by far-right protesters on Jan. 8. 

In a recent piece for The Conversation, Carmen Alvaro Jarrin, associate professor of anthropology at the College of the Holy Cross, highlights the clear connections between the recent riots in Brazil and the 2021 U.S. Capitol insurrection, in regard to how they were organized and the collective rage they conveyed.

Jarrin, who specializes in Brazilian politics and has recently written a book on this topic, says that we need to understand "political affect" – the nonrational, emotional aspects of politics – in order  to understand why people are moved by right-wing rhetoric and are recruited into violent acts. 

“It is very hard to combat rage, resentment and nostalgia with appeals to rationality and civility,” said Jarrin. “But [Lula] is a man who understands the power of symbols and is trying to change how Brazilians feel about their nation. He is asking them to claim a stake by embracing diversity – and democracy.”

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