Moral Panic, Television Crime Shows and the Failure of Public Security Policies in Brazil

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 15:40
Oral Presentation
Alex NICHE TEIXEIRA, Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil
This paper aims to analyze the connections between public security policies in Brazil in the last 15 years and the resurgence of sensationalism and exploitation of moral panics in Brazilian television crime shows, especially from the end of 2000's. As well as in other Southern American countries in the first decade of the 21st Century, Brazil experienced left-wing governments in the federative sphere with progressive and reformist positions in several areas, with emphasis on efforts towards minimum income and policies that included significant portion of the population in the consumer market. In terms of public security policies, despite the higher volume of investment between 2006 and 2010, the results regarding the necessary reformation of police model and reducing the levels of lethal crimes were weak. At the same time, there was a considerable increase in the number of television shows with a sensationalist approach to deal with cases of urban violence and police actions. The hypothesis developed here points to a consistent relationship between the recent failure of public security policies to solve concrete issues in Brazil - such as the high homicide rates - and the resurgence of populist discourse in terms of criminal policies, as well as sensationalist television shows with considerable levels of audience. The analytical approach is based on mixed methods using documents, official reports on budget and crime rates, television audience reports and video data. The research has been developed over the last two years within the framework of the activities of the Research Group on Violence and Citizenship and the Postgraduate Program in Sociology of the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul.