Democracy as the negation of discourse: Liberalism, clientelism, and agency in Brazil

by Aaron Ansell

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By Aaron AnsellFull Article: onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/amet.12164/full

People enact democracy when they undermine their customary speech forms. This is evident in a small municipality in rural northeastern Brazil, where village-dwelling cultivators and town activists are abandoning the practice of displaying electoral propaganda on their private homes because it evokes the shrill voices of domineering politicians and haranguing neighbors. An analysis of local associations among propaganda images, unpleasant voices, and broader genres of political communication finds that the widespread abandonment of propaganda images dramatizes the tension between liberal and illiberal imaginings of democracy in contemporary Brazil.

This scanned image depicts a mock-up of a photo-sticker produced at the author’s request by the graphic designer Adeilson Souza. The 'candidate' is the pop icon Madonna, running either for mayor or vice mayor under the fictional party abbreviation PMPM, with the slogan 'By the people, for the people.' Photo: Aaron Ansell, June 28, 2012
This scanned image depicts a mock-up of a photo-sticker produced at the author’s request by the graphic designer Adeilson Souza. The 'candidate' is the pop icon Madonna, running either for mayor or vice mayor under the fictional party abbreviation PMPM, with the slogan 'By the people, for the people.' Photo: Aaron Ansell, June 28, 2012

This scanned image depicts a mock-up of a photo-sticker produced at the author’s request by the graphic designer Adeilson Souza. The 'candidate' is the pop icon Madonna, running either for mayor or vice mayor under the fictional party abbreviation PMPM, with the slogan 'By the people, for the people.' Photo: Aaron Ansell, June 28, 2012