Post-Fascist Cosmologies and Civil Religion Revisited: On Black Ethnocide and Secular Sacrificial Processes in the City of Rio De Janeiro

Friday, 20 July 2018
Distributed Paper
Julio BIZARRIA, Federal University of the State of Rio de Janeiro (UNIRIO), Brazil
This study analyses the fading boundaries between secular and religious discourse in the Brazilian public sphere from the perspective of the far-right sympathies stirred in the context of the 2016 coup and of the social groups standing as their most visible alterity in the city of Rio de Janeiro, the favela dwellers. On the one hand, ostensibly religious discourse, as a corollary of its continued deprivatisation, has been progressively called to postulate its agenda in secular terms; on the other hand, predominantly secular discourse, such as that of the Brazilian far-right, have come to display many cosmological features, ever more commensurate with a full-blown religious dimension. By revisiting and problematising the hypothesis of the civil religions and the contemporary characterisations of fascism, this paper seeks to illustrate this transit, evincing both the post-fascist cosmologies and the endogenous resistance against them, stemming from favela dwellers and militants defined by a composite stigma, simultaneously racial and territorial. The frequent “resistance killings” and “stray bullets” that victimise black favela youth, more than mere bureaucratic forms of the black ethnocide, may be conceived, within either group, as different forms of secular sacrificial processes, whereby political action and resistance may draw novel and as yet unknown potentialities. Evidence of this conflict and its centrality abounds to such an extent that even incidental observation of the cityscape, particularly of mortuary graffiti and urban epigraphy, may provide a valuable empirical ground to comprehend the rise of authoritarianism in Latin America and the many intricacies and fractures of the secular-religious divide in the 21st century.