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?
Rafael de Souza
Postdoctoral Researcher, Centro Brasileiro de Análise e Planejamento