Pedro Salgado

Pedro Salgado is an International Relations scholar, working on the intersection between the fields of Historical Sociology and Global Political Economy. His doctoral research at the University of Sussex looks at the process of Brazilian state-formation from the colonial period to late 19th century. The core aim is to contribute to narratives of the joint development of global capitalism and the modern states-system by analyzing the geopolitical mediations between these processes in a colonial context.

The Colonial Legacies of Authoritarianism and Democracy: the Brazilian Trajectory of Political and Economic Development

The research project at the International Research Group on Authoritarianism and Counter-Strategies revolves around the current global rise of authoritarian and ‘hybrid’, or ‘semi-authoritarian’ regimes. This rise is explained by a strong tradition of liberal political theory that frames it in contrast to a notion of democracy defined procedurally through elements such as the resilience of institutions, and transparency of free elections. The notion that the dichotomy between democracy and authoritarianism lies on the formal elements of representative democracy overlooks key continuities in authoritarian practices commonly embraced by these democracies. This project turns to the colonial roots of modern democracies, locating the different degrees of authoritarianism in them to their particular legacies of the colonial period. On a theoretical level, it engages with Marxist debates on state theory and the International Historical Sociology of modernity/coloniality. Empirically, it frames the discussion around the Brazilian experience, with its oscillations between ‘democracy’ and ‘authoritarianism’ since the second half of the 20th century, culminating in the recent election of Jair Bolsonaro (2018).


Salgado, P. Agency and Geopolitics: Brazilian State-Formation and the problem of Eurocentrism in ‘International Society’ narratives. Cambridge Review of International Affairs, 33 (3) (2020): 432-451. Available here

Bezerra, G.; Salgado, P.; Yamato, R. Escravismo Atlântico no Século XIX: construindo “o internacional” através do mar [Atlantic Slavery in the 19th Century: building ‘the international’ through the sea]. Monções, v. 8, n. 15 (2019): 424-457. Available here

Salgado, P. Historia, agencia y eurocentrismo en la Escuela Inglesa [History, Agency, and Eurocentrism in the English School]. Relaciones Internacionales, 41 (2019): 33-52. Available here

All Publications from Pedro Salgado:

  • COVID as the (Second) Death of Neoliberalism?

    Many influential voices have pointed out, with different degrees of optimism, that the COVID-19 pandemic might finally have ushered in the final days of neoliberalism. However, if we understand neoliberalism as a set of practices and institutional mechanisms that shield market relations from popular deliberation, we reach a different conclusion. In these terms, neoliberalism is not dying. If emergency measures are aimed more at safeguarding the profits of banks and large corporations than securing wages and welfare programmes, then this crisis is in fact an opportunity to increase wealth inequality, and not to address it as a problem.

  • The Crisis of Brazilian Universities: higher education under Bolsonaro

    The attack on science and knowledge production is known to be one of the main elements of the rise of the authoritarian right in the past decade. As one of the main global expressions of contemporary authoritarianism, Jair Bolsonaro is no exception to that. His government has been an important part of the context of difficulties for the higher education sector in Brazil, especially since research is highly dependent on public universities and funding agencies in the country. On top of that, the COVID pandemic in 2020 created difficulties for universities all around the world. If such a global crisis is expected to generate differentiated pressures across the Global North and South, the impact of authoritarian politics is surely prone to making the situation particularly delicate for universities.