Logo of IRGAC
Image of the article »Punitive Imaginaries and the Aftermath of the 2022 Elections in Brazil: Mediated Representations of Crime, Punishment, and Fear among the Far Right — a Critical Criminological Approach«

Punitive Imaginaries and the Aftermath of the 2022 Elections in Brazil: Mediated Representations of Crime, Punishment, and Fear among the Far Right — a Critical Criminological Approach

Theory & ResearchThe use of penal policies as a form of social control in authoritarian neoliberalism and a deep culture of violence were both already part of the political landscape and the punitive imaginary in Brazil. Thus, Bolsonarism met a landscape that was ripe for a much more radical project of neoliberal punitivism

In the week following President Lula’s inauguration in Brasilia on January 1, 2023, approximately 100 buses arrived in the capital, each filled with people who were determined to protest against Lula’s election. The result of the disputed second round of the election for the presidency of the Republic, which took place in November 2022, and which Lula had won with a majority of barely 3000 votes, generated among Bolsonaro’s supporters — encouraged by Bolsonaro himself in his social media and campaign speeches — the idea that an electoral fraud had occurred and that the election results should be annulled. 

The strategy of contesting election results and casting doubt on the suitability of electoral processes is not new in Brazil (in the 2014 presidential elections, the right had already attempted to annul the results), nor is it among the far right worldwide (Cannon 2016; de Orellana and Michelsen 2019; Mudde 2019[1]). In line with what occurred with Trump’s voters in the US, Bolsonaro’s supporters[2] — on social media channels such as Telegram and WhatsApp — began to contest the result of the presidential elections and, immediately after the result of the second round, started to set up camps in front of various military headquarters across the country. The largest and most organized of all was in Brasilia, which had a superstructure: electricity, showers, a kitchen, space for children’s recreation, and IT equipment with computers and screens for the livestreams transmitted by various digital platforms.

Many were the tales generated by the various conspiracy theorists and disseminated during and after the electoral process: Lula was suffering from terminal cancer and would not survive until the inauguration, Bolsonaro would not hand over office, the military would not allow Lula to take office, electronic voting machines had been stolen in cities in the Northeast, the electronic voting machines had been tampered with a miscellany of hypotheses that served as fuel for the occupations and the creation of Bolsonarist camps. 

On 8 January 2023, more than 4,000 Bolsonarists raided and vandalized the National Congress (Congresso Nacional), the Supreme Federal Court (STF) and the Palácio da Alvorada, the presidential palace. The call for the demonstration had been made through Bolsonarist social media, in the form of an invitation to a party, the “Selma Party”[3]. Conversely, a day before the attack, many posts and memes warning that this was not a party, but a war were published. It is speculated that Bolsonaro supporters only managed to invade, occupy, and loot the three buildings thanks to the tacit consent of the Federal District’s military police, as well as the army. More than 1,000 people were arrested; according to data from the Federal Prosecutor’s Office from the Federal District (DF), 60 percent of those arrested were men, most were between 36 and 55 years old, less than a fifth had party affiliation, and some detainees had stood as candidates in past elections or provided services for political campaigns (Agência Brasil 2023).

As we observe, there are numerous avenues for analyzing the "coup attempt of January 2023" (A Intentona Golpista de Janeiro de 2023). Within the historical framework of Brazil's republican era since 1889, the specter of coups d'état has persistently cast a shadow over the political terrain. Nonetheless, to delve into the analysis and discussion of my proposed concept today — the inauguration of a different phase of punitive imaginary in Brazil — we must journey back to the pivotal year of 2016.

Through an analysis of accounts from Bolsonaro supporters regarding the events of 8 January, the article seeks to explore the mediated representations of the cyclical nature of punitive imaginaries. Specifically, it aims to scrutinize how these interpretations construct notions of the “Other” and the victim within the realm of neoliberal authoritarianism and far-right ideologies.

The Circularity of Punitive Imaginaries 

It was December 2016 when the impeachment process against President Dilma Rousseff was being voted on. Jair Bolsonaro was at that time a Federal Member of Parliament and, while voting in favour of the impeachment in the plenary of the Chamber of Deputies, he defended and praised the memory of General Ustra. Ustra was an infamous torturer of the military dictatorship, known for the cruelty with which he acted in his torture sessions and who had, in the 1970s, tortured Dilma Rousseff, then a young opposition activist. For Bolsonaro, less than a minute of his speech was sufficient to run through topics such as the fascist motto of protecting the family and freedom, the fight against communism, being against the Forum of São Paulo, for “Brazil and God above all and everything”, and ended with the exaltation of the memory and the figure of the torturer, and in his words “the terror of Dilma Rousseff” (Estadão 2019).  

As many experts have pointed out (Prado and Tavares 2015, 74), the impeachment process was based on a broad political and media campaign, completely devoid of any legal basis, which is why it was called the coup of 2016. Based on a long campaign of moral panics that involved moral entrepreneurs from various democratic institutions, as well as the official national press and popular media[4], with the goal of overthrowing President Dilma Rousseff, it was a paradigmatic moment for the rise of the far right in Brazil. Bolsonaro’s speech, together with the symbol of his campaign, that of one or both hands pointed in the air imitating a firearm — a gesture he often even encouraged children to copy — would inaugurate a new stage of punitivism in the authoritarian neoliberalism within which Brazil has always somehow been inserted, when we think in terms of violence and penal policies. 

The idea of a punitive imaginary was developed by penal populism theorists who identified a process of co-optation by political agents in party campaigns (from both the left and the right) of the public sentiment and desire for punishment for anyone who commits crimes (Bottoms 1995). “Penal populism speaks to the way in which criminals and prisoners are thought to have been favoured at the expense of crime victims in particular and the law-abiding public in general” (Pratt 2007, 12). The affective dimension of penal populism is engendered in feelings of anger, dissatisfaction, and discontent towards the criminal system. Denis Salas (2005) identified the interplay of the feelings of fear, anxiety, and the pursuit for safety as the will to punish which appears as a symptom of capitalist political systems that instrumentalize penal policies to ensure an ideal of stability and safety. The contemporary symptom of the will to punish that has spread throughout Western countries and that rocks the fundamental sense of democracy (Carvalho 2010) makes possible the emergence of: punitive macro-policies (popular punitivism); the political-criminal pro-imprisonment movements (law and order; zero tolerance); and the neoconservative and orthodox criminological theories (actuarial justice, administrative criminology, and rational choice). 

In the exploration of authoritarian power dynamics within the colonial past of Latin America, critical criminologists (V. R. P. de Andrade 2012; Baratta 2004; Olmo 1981) have, since the 1970s, highlighted the crucial role played by both criminological knowledge and penal policies. They argue that these elements have not only served as fundamental instruments for the enforcement of authoritarian agendas but have also facilitated the integration of such policies into the framework of late capitalism in peripheral countries. In the same line of analysis as Aníbal Quijano (2020), when he talks about the manufacture of the great “Other” inhabitant of the Americas as being a fundamental element of the construction of the very idea of Europe as a civilization and of the European identity, Biko Agozino, in his counter-colonialist criminological approach, reminds us that “criminology emerged as a discipline for disciplining and controlling the Other at a time when colonial administrations were imprisoning most regions of the world” (Agozino 2003, 6; 2004). 

In the case of Brazil, even during the democratic opening-up of the 1990s and with left-wing governments, such as the Workers’ Party (PT), we witnessed what Loïc Wacquant (2009) identified as the penal management of poverty and the dangerous classes. The expansion and use of criminal law has always been an important social container. As suggested by Maria Lucia Karam

 in the 1990s (Karam 2021), there is a “punitive left”, which is grounded on an authoritarian-punitivist rationality as an intrinsic element of capitalism and finds its peak in the (in)famous war against drug trafficking. However, the punitive left goes further: the idea that criminalization and punishment serve as a first response to any social conflict becomes part of the agenda of many progressive social movements, such as the feminist movement (Karam 2015) and the wars against corruption in politics. Karam’s thesis is that, in line with what critical criminology has pointed out since the 1970s, the penal system is nothing more than a mimicry of the contradictions of class struggles inherent to capitalism (Karam 2015, 129). In other words, obeying capitalism’s logic of inequality, both criminalization and punishment will always fall on the subaltern classes and against dissident bodies, thus generating more inequality and more social suffering. For Karam, being a left-wing punitivist is a paradox: you cannot imagine social justice from the idealization of a system that is by its nature authoritarian, since it was built to produce suffering and legitimize inequalities. 

Needless to say, this rationality is borne out by the numbers: Brazil occupies the third position in the global ranking of countries with the largest prison populations (Fair and Walmsley 2021). Beyond the confines of prison walls, our society reveals an alarming level of violence: in 2022, there were 1,400 reported femicides, with an estimated 35 women experiencing physical or verbal violence every minute. Each day, around 51,000 women endure violence, while 822 women are subjected to rape, translating to an average of two rapes every minute. (Acayaba and Honório 2023). Moreover, Brazil is one of the most dangerous countries in the world for transgender people: for 13 years Brazil has been at the top of the list of countries in which transgender and transvestite people are killed (Pinheiro 2022). In addition, there are the issues of police violence (still extremely militarized), and the actions of militias in various parts of the country, which operate completely outside the law (see Delgado 2009).

Although fundamental for an understanding of authoritarian politics in liberal democracies, the criticism of punitive populism and left-wing punitivism is also seen as somewhat naïve (Divan 2019), over-romanticized (Matthews 2010), and sometimes counterproductive (Pinto 2012), as it has penal abolitionism in its utopian horizon, i.e. the end or at least a drastic reduction of punitive systems, which would depend on a radical process of legal reforms aimed at decriminalizing certain acts and creating alternatives to prison. A more nuanced reading (Pinto 2012; Prando 2020) invites us to think and reflect that the punitive agendas of various social movements cannot be reduced to mere irrational feelings of revenge and retribution. 

Hence, the punitive imaginary is a spectre that surrounds the security fantasies of both the ideologies of the right and the left, simply because the monopoly on punishment is yet another important element of any government within a capitalist mode of production: 

Regardless of sensibility or intention, within a capitalist mode of production any government must use the complex matrix of care and punitivity to reproduce the necessary social relations…. The post-war Keynesian governments’ integration of punitivity into state care, and the Labour government’s ‘law and order’ crackdown in the 70s show that punitivity isn’t just a right-wing problem, it’s a necessity for any government within a capitalist mode of production. (Freedman 2021)

Thus, it would not be honest to say that this violent and punitivist rationality was born with the recent rise of the global far right. Nevertheless, the politics of the far right during the Bolsonarist era in Brazil points us to an even more sophisticated stage in the materialization of the violence that emerges from these punitive imaginaries. If the nostalgic and somewhat foggy memory of the image of the dictatorship period remained for many as the memory of a period of law, order, and effective institutions (for those who did not oppose the regime), Bolsonaro’s speech, by praising a military torturer of the (first and only woman) president of the Republic, paves the way for this new phase of the discourse and punitive practices that would consist of at least three aspects: 1) the resumption of the possibility for the legitimization and subsequent institutionalization of armamentist policies[5] – (which had been overcome in 2001, with the disarmament law); 2) the violence and criminalization of politics; and 3) the (re)validation of the army as an agent of punishment and authority, as well as the exaltation of the crimes committed by military officers during the dictatorship (which to this day have not been properly investigated nor punished).

Through the dissemination of disinformation and the manipulation of conspiracy theories such as "cultural Marxism," "globalism," and "great replacement," there is a concerted effort to reinforce the portrayal of the Other as an adversary to be feared and opposed. This portrayal often takes the shape of the communist, perceived as a direct threat to cherished values like the sanctity of the Christian family, societal order, and individual property rights — echoing the rhetoric of fascism. Moreover, figures like Lula, derogatorily labelled "the inmate" (o presidiário) within Bolsonarista networks, are singled out for vilification. The radical and hyperbolic punitive discourses act as a powerful catalyst, propelling forward this incipient era of violence within the realm of authoritarian neoliberalism, and possibly amplifying the specter of far-right terrorism in Brazil.

The relationship between the punitive imaginary and conspiracy theories is, arguably, along the same lines as the relationship of moral panics and punitivity. In the same way that the punitivism imaginary is linked to the manipulation of real fears, moral panics — a concept that emerged in the early 1970s when Stanley Cohen (2002 [1972]) sought to explain the interaction between the reactions of the media, the public, and the control agencies in relation to the criminality of urban subcultures — are today conspiracy theories. While an important part of the literature (Bilewicz and Soral 2022; Espindula et al. 2023; Gallego 2018; Mello 2020; Pinheiro-Machado and Scalco 2018) that seeks to understand the affections mobilized by the far right sees hatred as a central emotion, two other emotions that are also very present in the crisis of late capitalism, i.e. fear and insecurity, must be taken into account. As I have discussed elsewhere (Larruscahim 2021), moral panic is not a strategy of political manipulation that arises vertically, but organically, in a process of interaction with feelings of fear and insecurity that were already there (Young 2009). In this vein, conspiracy theories also play a significant role. According to Melley (2000, as cited in Butter 2021), they serve as a swift and efficient antidote to what he terms “agency panic” — the widespread fear that has gained traction over the course of the twentieth century, suggesting that humans are merely pawns manipulated by forces beyond their control (Butter 2021, 4). Yet, for Michael Butter, one key reason for people believing in conspiracy theories is because they work as a fuel to redeem human agency: “conspiracy theories insist that human beings are in control of events by discarding explanations that highlight chaos, stupidity, or systemic effects” (Butter 2021, 4–5). 

In the context of the deep uncertainties and insecurities characteristic of late capitalism (Beck 2009) and which were exacerbated by the 2008 financial crisis, and amidst the significant deconstructions of truths and certainties challenged by various social movements over the past decade (pertaining to identity, gender, race, and class), it is likely that individuals adhering to cisheteronormativity, whiteness, and conventional Western standards may experience feelings of fear, uncertainty, and a perceived threat to the status quo. Amidst this climate of uncertainty and doubt, simplistic and immediate responses that promise security naturally garner heightened popularity. Thus, punitivism transcends its traditional role as a tool for subduing and neutralizing the “Other”; it becomes a swift solution for transitioning from a state of uncertainty to one perceived as security and freedom. These ideals form the cornerstone of promises espoused by the far-right ideology today.

Here it is interesting to note that the discourse of legitimation of violence, from the rationality and so-called neoliberal subjectivity (Brown 2016), gains sophisticated contours: if from the neoliberal perspective each person is individually responsible for their financial and personal success, each armed citizen will now also have the possibility and, to some extent, the “responsibility” to individually defend their family, their property, and values, but also to collectively “fight” (literally all armed) against that great “Other”, the common enemy — the communist, the leftist, the “Petista” (supporter of the PT) — who allegedly “threatens” freedom, order, and Christian morality, and who must therefore be eliminated. 

By analysing the different layers of authoritarian neoliberalism in Brazil, Daniel Pereira Andrade et al. (2021) observe that the democratic transition of the 1980s, followed by the neoliberal transition of the 1990s, was marked by an authoritarian continuity. In addition, because redemocratization took place a few years before the neoliberal transition, this allowed for a social democratic rationality to emerge in parallel to this authoritarian continuity. However, this was not enough to build a welfare state and, in addition to its anti-democratic role, neoliberalism was connected to the authoritarian and militarized political rationality inherited from the dictatorship (D. P. Andrade et al. 2021, 13).

Thus, in Brazil, despite democratization, there has been a significant presence of a punitive state apparatus (“prisonfare”) observed at least since the 1990s. What is seen now, in this authoritarian turn of punitive discourses among the far right, is a state project that creates conditions so that each citizen, individually and legitimately, takes in their hands the monopoly of violence and punishment, exacting justice with those same hands. Bolsonaro managed to implement the first stage of this project in his first term: it is estimated that between the years 2019 and 2022 an average of 1,300 weapons were bought per day (Brasil de Fato 2022), and that a total of 1,354,751 new weapons circulated in the country (Oliveira 2023).

Dystopian Punitive Imaginaries: The Place of the Victim in the Aftermath of 8 January

After 8 January, more than 2,000 people were arrested. The mass arrests were televised and shared on many Bolsonarist social media channels, which very quickly began to compare prison conditions to Nazi concentration camps. The book Por trás das grades - O diário de Anne Brasil (Behind Bars, the Diary of Anne Brasil) tells the story of a Bolsonarist activist, a “patriot” as they call themselves, from the march to Brasilia to her arrest and imprisonment shortly after 8 January. The general thesis is that the 8 January action was a social movement, organized by “good citizens”, family people, who wanted to protest peacefully against the result of the 2023 elections, and that all the acts of violence and looting had been carried out by infiltrators (leftists who wanted to delegitimize the patriots’ movement). In this context, Bolsonarist commentators argue that the arrests symbolize a manifestation of a totalitarian, censorious, and anti-democratic state. As the title of the book implies, the patriot’s prison diary serves as a counterpart to the classic Diary of Anne Frank:

The similarity of the events to the harbinger of what would become the evolution of Nazism was sparked by the burning of the Reichstag. In Brazil, 90 years later, the invasion of the buildings of the three branches of government [Praça dos Três Poderes em Brasília] gave rise to the persecution of the Bolsonaro supporters, just as the Nazis persecuted the communists in 1933.... Our Anne was as much a victim as Anne Frank of a perverse system of coercion and violence perpetrated by a group of extremists who feed off the state to impose their will, as if it was a democracy. (Kerber Filho 2023, 9–10)

As I suggested at the beginning of this essay, a fundamental element of the punitive imaginary is the construction of an Other to be demonized, feared, and fought against. This dichotomous logic situates the victim at the opposing pole, specifically defining who is recognized as such. In this sense, equating “Anne Brasil” with Anne Frank repositions Bolsonaro activists arrested on charges of crimes against democracy as victims of a totalitarian system that persecutes its opponents and “destroys freedom in the name of freedom” (Kuby 2021). 

In the wake of what many versions of the far-right advocate, what occurred on 8 January was a huge demonstration in favour of freedom, which, according to “Anne Brasil”, has become a non-negotiable value greater than life itself (Kerber Filho 2023). Gabriele Kuby, a prominent campaigner against the so-called “gender ideology”, warns that the political landscape of today’s liberal democracies appears to be a far cry from the systems of terror imposed by the Nazi regime and communism, but warns of a new totalitarianism: one that “appears under the cloak of freedom, tolerance, justice, equality, non-discrimination, and diversity” (Kuby 2021). 

Given this scenario, in which the ideology of the (global) far right has as its motto the defence of the recovery of freedom (the freedom of non-recognition of difference), it is that the reactions of Bolsonarist supporters to the arrests resulting from 8 January operate in the logic of inversion and co-optation of what it means to be a victim of a totalitarian system.

Problematizing the elements peculiar to neofascists or the so-called New Right, Verónica Gago and Gabriel Giorgi (2023) point to a paradox: in the context of neoliberalism, where there is a particular combination of security and freedom, this is the field in which the forms of expression of the new far right, which indeed have the motto of freedom, will emerge. For Gago and Giorgi, it is precisely the tension between the capture of neoliberal subjectivity by the devices of mass expression (social media networks) and their high capacity for mobilization that gives rise to a demand for freedom. Gago and Giorgi (2023) call this paradoxical demand for freedom “reactive transgression”:

Reactive transgression functions there, appropriating disputes that make up freedoms and rights, but redirecting them against democratic dialogues and relations, which are questioned for not being truly democratic. In this sense, the democratic twist exercised by expressive technologies manages to spread anti-democratic feelings at the mass level. (Gago and Giorgi 2023, 200)

Yet, Gago and Giorgi’s hypothesis suggest that in analysing the rise of the New Right or neo-fascism as a reactionary response to a crisis, it is crucial to extend the discourse beyond interpreting it merely as a backlash to the crisis of capitalism. One must also consider the possibility that it represents a backlash against the expansion of “[trans]feminism and its capacity to transform the very field of democratic struggles (a movement, and this is no minor point, that also especially emerges from the south)” (Gago and Giorgi 2023, 197). It is no coincidence that the aggravation of this punitive imaginary in the form of reactionary transgression has as its material and symbolic milestone the impeachment of the first and until then only woman president of the Republic of Brazil, through a process and a ceremony in Parliament, marked by misogyny and the exaltation of the man that had tortured her during the dictatorship. Once again, the figure of the victim (not coincidentally a woman) is repositioned to that of the tyrant, the danger that must be eliminated. 

Against this backdrop, the results of an opinion poll (Ortellado and Ribeiro 2023) conducted almost a year after 8 January 2023, in which almost 500 people were interviewed on the outskirts of Paulista Avenue (Avenida Paulista), come as no surprise: 91 percent considered that there had been excesses by the justice system in the arrests and convictions related to the protests in Brasilia on 8 January; 56 percent considered that only those who entered the headquarters of the three branches of government in Brasilia should be punished; 94 percent believed that those who took part in damaging property at the headquarters of the three branches of government should be punished. The survey results align with the thesis upheld by Bolsonaro supporters, asserting that the events of 8 January were initially intended as a peaceful demonstration by patriotic citizens aiming to safeguard Brazil from what they perceive as a totalitarian regime. They contend that the acts of violence and vandalism targeting the government buildings at Praça dos Três Poderes were instigated by infiltrators from the left-wing camp, seeking to jeopardize the integrity of the Patriotas social movement.


Through this essay I have sought to discuss one of the many layers of the culture of violence and punitivism that has worsened in Brazil since the rise of the far right. My analysis starts from the idea that the use of penal policies as a form of social control in authoritarian neoliberalism and a deep culture of violence were both already part of the political landscape and the punitive imaginary in Brazil. Thus, Bolsonarism met a landscape that was ripe for a much more radical project of neoliberal punitivism. 

The selectivity of the punitive imaginary that inhabits each one of us has served and continues to serve to bring about a new paradigm of violence, intensified by the ideologies of the far right, but it also puts in check the possibility of progressive leftist agendas such as a penal reform that considers the decriminalization of abortion and of drug use, but that also meets the demands of social movements calling for answers and public policies for victims of gender-based violence in its various forms (political, domestic), victims of racialized violence, and environmental harm.

However, another important horizon for overcoming the contradictions engendered by the notion of freedom, neoliberalism, and the new right, is to re-signify freedom not only in its discursive dimension, but also from the perspective “of liveable forms of freedom in the neoliberal matrix” (Gago and Giorgi 2023, 207).



Acayaba, C., and G. Honório (2023), “35 mulheres foram agredidas física ou verbalmente por minuto no Brasil em 2022, diz pesquisa”, globo.com, 2 March, available at https://g1.globo.com/sp/sao-paulo/noticia/2023/03/02/35-mulheres-foram-agredidas-fisica-ou-verbalmente-por-minuto-no-brasil-em-2022-diz-pesquisa.ghtml. Last accessed on 22 March 2024.

Agência Brasil (2023), “Ministério Público traça perfil de envolvidos nos atos de 8 de janeiro”, 17 February, available at https://agenciabrasil.ebc.com.br/justica/noticia/2023-02/ministerio-publico-traca-perfil-de-envolvidos-nos-atos-de-8-de-janeiro?amp. Last accessed on 22 March 2024.

Agozino, B. (2003), Counter-Colonial Criminology: A Critique of Imperialist Reason, London: Pluto Press.

——— (2004), “Imperialism, crime and criminology:\\\\ Towards the decolonisation of criminology”, Crime, Law and Social Change, vol. 41, no. 4, pp. 343–58. https://doi.org/10.1023/B:CRIS.0000025766.99876.4c.

Andrade, D. P., M. Côrtes, and S. Almeida (2021), “Neoliberalismo Autoritário no Brasil”, Caderno CRH, vol. 34, e021020. https://doi.org/10.9771/ccrh.v34i0.44695.

Andrade, V. R. P. de. (2012), Pelas Mãos Da Criminologia, Rio de Janeiro: Revan.

Baratta, A. (2004), Criminología crítica y crítica del derecho penal: Introducción a la sociología jurídico penal, Siglo XXI Editores Argentina.

Beck, U. (2009), Risk Society: Towards a New Modernity, London: Sage.

Bilewicz, M., and W. Soral (2022), “The Politics of Hate: Derogatory Language in Politics and Intergroup Relations”, The Cambridge Handbook of Political Psychology: Cambridge Handbooks in Psychology, edited by D. Osborne and C. Sibley, Cambridge University Press, pp. 429–41.

Bottoms, A. E. (1995), “The Philosophy and Politics of Punishment and Sentencing”, The Politics of Sentencing Reform, edited by C. Clarkson and R. Morgan, Oxford: Clarendon.

Brasil de Fato (2022), “Após mais de 40 decretos de Bolsonaro, brasileiros compram 1.300 armas por dia”, 12 September, available at https://www.brasildefato.com.br/2022/09/12/apos-mais-de-40-decretos-de-bolsonaro-brasileiros-compram-1-300-armas-por-dia. Last accessed on 22 March 2024.

Brown, W. (2016), El pueblo sin atributos, Madrid: Malpaso Ediciones.

Butter, M. (2021), “Why do we believe in conspiracy theories?”, Cicero Foundation Great Debate Paper, Issue 21/03, available at https://www.cicerofoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/Butter_Conspiracy_Theories.pdf. Last accessed on 22 March 2024.

Cannon, B. (2016), The Right in Latin America: Elite Power, Hegemony and the Struggle for the State, New York: Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203767023.

Carvalho, S. de (2010), Antimanual de Criminologia, Rio de Janeiro: Lumen Juris.

Cohen, S. (2002), Folk Devils and Moral Panics: The Creation of the Mods and Rockers, Abingdon: Routledge.

Delgado, F. R. (2009), Lethal Force: Police Violence and Public Security in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, New York: Human Rights Watch.

Divan, G. A. (2019), “Revisitando a esquerda punitiva: Relações sociais, poder e agenda atual da criminologia crítica”, Revista Eletrônica Direito e Política, programa de Pós-Graduação Stricto Sensu em Ciência Jurídica da UNIVALI, Itajaí, vol. 14, no. 1, pp. 62–93.

Espindula, B. de F. et al. (2023), Relatório De Recomendações Para O Enfrentamento Ao Discurso De Ódio E Ao Extremismo No Brasil, Brasília: Ministério da Família, da Mulher e dos Direitos Humanos.

Estadão (2019), “Bolsonaro exalta Ustra na votação do impeachment em 2016”, YouTube, 8 August, available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xiAZn7bUC8A&ab_channel=Estad%C3%A3o. Last accessed on 22 March 2024.

Fair, H., and R. Walmsley (2021), World Prison Population List (13th edn.), Institute of Crime & Justice Police Research, available at https://www.prisonstudies.org/sites/default/files/resources/downloads/world_prison_population_list_13th_edition.pdf. Last accessed on 22 March 2024.

Freedman, L. (2021), “In Capitalism, there can be no Care without Punitivity”, New Socialist, 14 October, available at https://www.newsocialist.org.uk/transmissions/capitalism-there-can-be-no-care-without-punitivity/#. Last accessed on 22 March 2024.

Gago, V., and G. Giorgi (2023), “NOTES ON THE EXPRESSIVE FORMS OF THE NEW RIGHTS: A dispute over the subjectivity of the majorities”, The Rise of the Radical Right in the Global South (1st ed.), edited by R. Pinheiro-Machado and T. Vargas-Maia, translated by L. Mason-Deese, London: Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781003193012.

González, M. (2022), Vox S.A.: El negocio del patriotismo español (1st edn.), Barcelona: Península.

Karam, M. L. (2015), “Os paradoxais desejos punitivos de ativistas e movimentos feministas”, Blog da Boitempo, 17 August, available at https://blogdaboitempo.com.br/2015/08/17/os-paradoxais-desejos-punitivos-de-ativistas-e-movimentos-feministas/. Last accessed on 22 March 2024.

——— (2021), A ‘esquerda punitiva’ vinte e cinco anos depois (1st edn.), São Paulo: Tirant lo Blanch.

Kerber Filho, E. (2023), Por trás das grades - O diário de Anne Brasil: O relato chocante de uma jovem presa política do 8 de janeiro de 2023, Brasília: Livraria Conservadora. 

Kuby, G. (2021), Revolução Sexual Global: A destruição da liberdade em nome da liberdade, São Paulo: Quadrante Editora.

Larruscahim, P. G. (2021), “Fake news and mediated representation of the Covid-19 crisis in Brazil”, Notes from isolation: Global criminological perspectives on coronavirus pandemic. The Hague: Eleven International Publishing.

Matthews, R. A. (2010), “The construction of ‘So What?’ criminology: A realist analysis”, Crime, Law and Social Change, vol. 54, no. 2, pp. 125–40. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10611-010-9249-2.

Mello, P. C. (2020), A máquina do ódio: Notas de uma repórter sobre fake news e violência digital, São Paulo: Companhia das Letras.

Mudde, C. (2019), The Far Right Today, Cambridge, UK: Polity.

Oliveira, C. (2023), “Mais de um milhão de armas entraram em circulação durante governo Bolsonaro”, Brasil de Fato, 14 February, available at https://www.brasildefato.com.br/2023/02/14/mais-de-um-milhao-de-armas-entrou-em-circulacao-durante-governo-bolsonaro. Last accessed on 22 March 2024. 

Olmo, R. D. (1981), America Latina y su criminologia (1st edn.), Siglo XXI Editores Mexico.

Orellana, P. de, and N. Michelsen (2019), “Reactionary Internationalism: The philosophy of the New Right”, Review of International Studies, vol. 45, no. 5, pp. 748–67. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0260210519000159.

Ortellado, P., and M. M. Ribeiro (2023), Manifestação “em defesa do Estado democrático de direito”, Monitor do Debate Público no Meio Digital - USP.

Pinheiro, E. (2022), “Brazil continues to be the country with the largest number of trans people killed”, Brasil de Fato, 23 January, translated by A. P. Rocha, available at https://www.brasildefato.com.br/2022/01/23/brazil-continues-to-be-the-country-with-the-largest-number-of-trans-people-killed. Last accessed on 22 March 2024.

Pinheiro-Machado, R., and L. M. Scalco (2018), “Da esperança ao ódio: A juventude periférica Bolsonarista”, O ódio como política: A reinvenção das direitas no Brasil (1st edn.), edited by E. Solano, São Paulo: Boitempo.

Pinto, M. (2012), Rastros, vol. 1, no. 1, p. 3. Available in: http://culturaebarbarie.org/rastros/n1.html

Prado, G., and J. Tavares (2015), Parecer jurídico-impeachment Presidenta Dilma Rousseff.

Prando, C. C. de M. (2020), “Os juristas e as políticas da justiça criminal: Quem tem medo da esfera pública?”, Revista Direito e Práxis, vol. 11, no. 4, pp. 2188–2211. https://doi.org/10.1590/2179-8966/2019/43230.

Pratt, J. (2007), Penal Populism: Key Ideas in Criminology, Abingdon: Routledge.

Quijano, A. (2020), Cuestiones y horizontes de la dependencia histórico-estructural a la colonialidad/descolonialidad del poder, CLACSO.

Salas, D. (2005), La Volonté de Punir: Essai sur le Populisme Pénal, Paris: Hachette.

Solano, E. (ed.) (2018), O ódio como política: A reinvenção da direita no Brasil, São Paulo: Boitempo.

Wacquant, L. (2009), Punishing the Poor: The Neoliberal Government of Social Insecurity, Duke University Press.

Young, J. (2009), “Moral Panic: Its Origins in Resistance, Ressentiment and the Translation of Fantasy into Reality”, British Journal of Criminology, vol. 49, no. 1, pp. 4–16. https://doi.org/10.1093/bjc/azn074.


  1. 1

    An almost anecdotal example, but which in a way also helps us to understand, beyond the symbolic dimension of Bolsonaro not greeting President Lula and also refusing to be present at the inauguration ceremony of the newly-elected president, as was the case of the candidate for the presidency of the far right in Chile — José Antonio Kast — who, upon learning of his defeat in 2021, decides to greet the elected candidate of the left, Gabriel Boric. Kast’s gesture led to harsh criticism from Hermann Tertsch, a member of the European Parliament for Spain’s Vox: “from his reaction after assuming the defeat, it is clear that I was held captive by the Marxist political framework” (González 2022).

  2. 2

    Throughout 2022, during the presidential campaign, Bolsonaro strongly nurtured the idea that the elections could be fraudulent, and even tried to bring back the old-fashioned printed ballot system. 

  3. 3

     Selma was the town in Alabama where white supremacists and police carried out a massacre against Black activists in 1965.

  4. 4

    In this sense, see the Netflix series The Mechanism (2018).

  5. 5

    Armamentist policies corresponds to legislative, institutional and commercial measures that encourage greater circulation of weapons for personal use. 

Read more