Brazil’s calvary

On July 12, Sergio Moro, the federal judge presiding over the Operation Carwash (Lava Jato) corruption investigations in Curitiba, duly delivered his most important contribution to the coup process in his country. He sentenced former Workers' Party president Lula da Silva to nine and a half years in prison for passive corruption and laundering money received … Continue reading Brazil’s calvary

Crisis with elections, crisis without elections: Brazil versus the UK in June 2017

Both British and Brazilian democratic politics as usual are now in crisis. It may seem eccentric to make any kind of comparison between countries on different sides of the Atlantic in different hemispheres that have different histories and political systems. Yet it is worth beginning by reflecting on some issues that transcend these differences before … Continue reading Crisis with elections, crisis without elections: Brazil versus the UK in June 2017

Brazil’s new crisis

As I remarked in this blog at the beginning of the sequence of events that led to the ouster of President Dilma Rousseff, the supporters of the 2016 coup would be advised to think carefully about what they wished for. As the country sinks deeper into a crisis that now touches all its institutions, this … Continue reading Brazil’s new crisis

The Violence(s) of Ethnocide in Post-Coup Brazil

This week the Brazilian congress is debating the final report of the Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry (CPI) set up to "investigate" the federal agencies responsible for assessing the land rights of indigenous, afro-descendent and other groups that have claims to "traditional" occupation of territories under Brazil's 1988 Constitution, the National Indigenous Foundation (FUNAI) and National … Continue reading The Violence(s) of Ethnocide in Post-Coup Brazil

Fachin’s List: the end of political bias in the Brazilian coup?

Last Tuesday, Minister Edson Fachin, the Supreme Court judge responsible for the Lava Jato (Operation  Car Wash) investigations in Brazil, responded to the request from the Attorney General, Rodrigo Janot, to approve investigations by the Supreme Court into serving politicians implicated by the plea bargain testimony of the CEO and other executives of the Odebrecht … Continue reading Fachin’s List: the end of political bias in the Brazilian coup?

Pensions: a bridge too far for the Brazilian coup?

Yesterday there were large street demonstrations against the Temer government's proposals for so-called "pension reform" in Brazil. These have received innumerable and authoritative academic critiques. This post is mainly about a popular critique, but let me begin with my fellow academics. The government's arguments about the size and causes of the claimed deficit in the national pension … Continue reading Pensions: a bridge too far for the Brazilian coup?

Deepening crisis in Brazil

Yesterday afternoon a light plane carrying four passengers crashed into the sea off the coast of Rio de Janeiro. One of the bodies recovered was that of Teori Zavascki, the Supreme Court judge responsible for oversight of the Operation Carwash (Lava Jato) corruption investigations and judgement of cases against politicians who, by virtue of currently … Continue reading Deepening crisis in Brazil

Brazil’s prison crisis

This first week of January has seen two massacres of inmates in Brazilian prisons. The first took place in Manaus. Fifty-six inmates died, the highest number to be killed since the Carandiru prison complex massacre in São Paulo in 1992. But in that latter case it was the police who did the killing. In Manaus … Continue reading Brazil’s prison crisis

After the Olympics

Despite hysteria in some sectors of the international press over Zika, raw sewage pouring into Guanabara Bay, and security threats facing athletes and visitors, the Rio Olympics proved successful as a sporting event. So, in the end, after initial lack of sponsor interest and slow ticket sales, did the Paralympics, which ended up beating Beijing … Continue reading After the Olympics

Visit to the ENAH and Ibero

I spent last week in Mexico City, at the invitation of Dr. Leif Korsbaek of the National School of Anthropology and History (ENAH). Two of the lectures that I gave at the ENAH were focused on British Social Anthropology. The first lecture was on the British style of fieldwork, illustrated with some of my own … Continue reading Visit to the ENAH and Ibero