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In 2018, far right candidate Jair Bolsonaro came to power in Brazil by building a socially and geographically heterogeneous electoral coalition. A crucial and largely overlooked part of this coalition were the inhabitants of low-income peripheries in large cities in the Southeast of the country. Throughout the 2000s, these voters tended to vote for the left-leaning Workers’ Party in presidential elections, but over the 2010s they shifted electorally to the right. This article maps these shifts and analyses them in relation to major urban, social and institutional transformations. We first present longitudinal electoral data at the scale of electoral zones for the metropolitan areas of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. We then present case studies of two peripheral districts, analysing these in relation to a range of key socio-economic and institutional variables. We argue that the peripheries of both metropolises have been subject to common transformations that influenced electoral behaviour, but that there are important differences between peripheral areas that help to explain the varying strength and durability of the rightward turn at the local scale. In dialogue with the theme of this special issue, we argue that that this kind of sensitive socio-spatial analysis helps to situate and add nuance to theories of ‘revanchist populism’.


Richmond, Matthew A., and Elizabeth McKenna. "Placing the peripheries within Brazil’s rightward turn: Socio-spatial transformation and electoral realignment, 2002–2018." Environment and Planning C: Politics and Space 0.0 (2023): 1-18.