Street movements as media vehicles of the Brazilian New Right
AffiliationSchool of Languages and Linguistics
Document TypePhD thesis
Access StatusThis item is embargoed and will be available on 2023-07-29.
Completed under a Cotutelle arrangement between the University of Melbourne and University of São Paulo
© 2021 Nicole McLean
The right-wing movements that dominated the streets in Sao Paulo, Brazil, from 2014 to 2018 are often viewed through a political lens. This thesis, which primarily focuses on Movimento Brasil Livre, VemPraRua and NasRuas (‘the movements’), takes a different approach and examines them from a media perspective. It exposes how the movements’ online discourses helped to form publics of the New Right through the popular sharing of their Facebook posts among their followers. These online discourses and publics have shown to have influenced the election of far-right president Jair Bolsonaro. By analysing the movements’ 2017 Facebook posts, interviewing their leaders and carrying out ethnographic fieldwork at street protests and other political events during the 2018 electoral period, this thesis reveals how the movements play a vital role in producing political commentary and constructing right-wing narratives, all which help to shape political debate in the public sphere. Through their usage of social media and production of online content, the movements act as media and propaganda vehicles of the New Right. Following an analysis of the movements’ Facebook posts, three broad discourses are identified including issues relating to corruption, economic arguments, and social and cultural debates, which make up the chapters of the thesis. The popular sharing of the movements’ Facebook posts among their followers signifies the formation of publics in line with the rhetoric they employ, including anti-corruption, neoliberal, punitive, conservative and anti-elite publics. However, detailed examination of the posts and ethnographic data reveal how these discourses are used strategically to engage in power struggles and cultural conflicts. Indeed, the movements are at once media, corruption accountability, cultural, as well as political institutions. This view of the movements, which focuses on their use of social media, increases understanding about them, their influence on public political debate and the formation of right-wing publics in Brazil.
KeywordsBrazilian New Right, Movimento Brasil Livre, MBL, VemPraRua, NasRuas, media vehicles, culture wars, anti-corruption, publics
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