I remember clearly as a child watching Tintin at night before going to bed. It was my favorite time of the day. Tintin was the kind of character I could rely on not only for a good story but also to help me shape (part of) the worldview and aspirations I have today. As much as I could have been brought up to hate communism, I think I leaned into the other values promoted by the character. Fast forward to 2009, my first exam at university, we were given a Tintin cartoon to criticize for an Anthropology course.
The emergence of the Workers’ Party (Partido dos Trabalhadores, PT) from the suburbs of São Paulo, its institutionalization, and its later rise to the presidential office in 2002 not only turned traditional Brazilian politics on its head, but it also spurred a flood of research on the phenomenon, commonly referred to as PTlogia in Brazil. An annotated bibliography on the PT from 2013 covers more than 400 pages (Metidieri Menegozzo 2013) and the flow of publications on the party has since continued.
When I was invited to write about the field of research I am working in, I was overwhelmed by the fact that I have my doubts on how to describe it. I had never heard about Cultural Studies before. It was only when I was accepted at the Ph.D. program on Heritages of Portuguese Influence at the University of Coimbra in Portugal, that those words started to make sense.
Cooperation is a collective action between two or more people, for a common purpose. Records in cooperation exist throughout the history of humankind, and various forms of cooperation between humans have been noticed since antiquity. The action is as old as human relations. Every day individuals have helped each other to overcome obstacles or to defend themselves from the weather, diseases, hunger, misery, etc. This concept is also related to modern times and is used in organizations that are called cooperatives.
The first round of the upcoming municipal elections in Brazil will take place on 15th November of this year, with over a one-month delay due to the coronavirus pandemic. Both the public and scholars will need to wait a little bit to unfold the many expectations that come with these elections. Of course, each election entails some degree of expectation, especially in a country such as Brazil, where there is a high party fragmentation and an unstable party system, and thus a high degree of uncertainty about who the winners will be. However, two contextual facts make these elections more interesting to both the public’s and scholars’ eyes.
Brazil has the most fragmented party system in the world. In 2018, 30 parties obtained at least one seat in the Lower House, with the effective number of parties being 16.4. This value is pointed out by several analysts as one of the obstacles to governance, given that the presidential party usually does not win a majority in the Legislature and must resort to multiparty coalitions to govern and to remain in office. The diagnosis of the fragmentation of the party system was accompanied by several attempts at treatment.
Looking from the outside, the Brazilian (political) democracy seems to be a fragile instrument which needs to be fixed to prevent a decision deadlock or, in even more frightening scenarios, a coup. Analysts have pointed out that the change from a multiparty presidential system to a parliamentary one would solve party fragmentation, corruption, and would make Brazilian people believe in democracy again. What makes parliamentarism the promised land and how different Brazilian democracy is from a parliamentary regime today?
An artistic wing in which the purpose is not to mimic reality, or even to transpose it in different contexts. One that up to a certain point does not aim at dreams, or communicate through the subconscious. From which, according to Gombrich, its maker "(...) does not seek the perfect shape, but the perfect deformity". The cartoon represents the epitome of individual expression and accessible communication, precisely because of its synthetic and comprehensive character. It is the representation, on canvas or paper, employing colors, of a person, action, or more generally, a theme, in which only the excess of ridicule alters the exact truth and similarity.
Elections lie at the very heart of democracy, and they are exclusive periods in which citizens are most politically engaged, providing the foundation for all representative democracy. Given such relevance, electoral rules are the subject of considerable attention from academics and the public debate around the world. In Brazil, this relevance has produced intense discussions and studies about the need of electoral reforms.
When I decided to go back to university and return to the initial line of my original academic education in the communication sciences, I came across two aspects that paved my research path. First, returning to the field of communication science was like coming home after decades away from family and friends. Time, distance, and new experiences brought changes. However, it was not just me who changed after my travels through the surrounding areas of communication studies, such as business administration. The family had also changed and expanded.