Centro Brasileiro de Análise e Planejamento (Brazil)


This project investigates the contentious interactions involving the policies of social distancing implemented in response to Covid-19 in Brazil. The Brazilian case is unique because  it is one of the epicenters of the Covid-19 epidemic today. This research analyzes the contentious interactions that oppose on one side supporters of policies of isolation (the press called them “quarenteneers”) and those who advocate the partial or total absence of isolation in favor of doubtful medicines, such as the use of hydroxychloroquine (the press called them “chloroquineers”). How were these mobilizations against and in favor of isolation possible? Who were these political actors (pro- and anti-lockdown protesters)? How did these contention performances diffuse to the Brazilian territory? Focusing on the set of contentious episodes from February 26, 2020, to May 30, 2020, in which these two activist fields interacted, the project will advance the understanding of the effects of the pandemic on the contentious politics. The project therefore hypothesizes that in a polarized political environment caused by Covid-19, the diffusion of new contention repertoires in anti- and pro-lockdown protests occurred because of spatial differences in the coalitions of political actors with ties to the government. Using Protest Event Analysis (PEA) as an analytical tool, this project will broaden the understanding of the relation between protest and urban spaces in the context of the pandemic and political radicalization. Even with strict regulations brought by social distancing measures, how have such new repertoires emerged?

Principal Investigator

Rafael de Souza

Postdoctoral Researcher, Centro Brasileiro de Análise e Planejamento

Rafael de Souza is currently an associate researcher at the Center for Political Institutions and Social Movements at the Brazilian Center for Analysis and Planning (CEBRAP). His work focuses on the effects of the urban environment in recent political contentious episodes in Brazil, especially the June 2013 protests and the presidential impeachment in 2016. Currently, he is conducting a research project about the spatial effects on the political interactions between police and demonstrators in the city of São Paulo in the contention cycle of 2013 to 2016 in Brazil. He has been using Protest Event Analysis (PEA) to investigate how different spatial embeddedness has influenced tactical innovations and adaptations in political organizations at different Brazilian cityscapes.