aleksei kaminski

Aleksei Kaminski, 2019 Global Research Scholar

Research ProjectInstitutions and Marginalization: Defining Voting Behavior in 21st Century Brazil

Research Location: Brazil

Majors: African Studies and Economics

My research question was originally to understand why 29% of the LGBTI+ and 45% of black and pardo (multi-racial) communities voted and support President Jair Bolsonaro. Elected in October of 2018, President Bolsonaro has vowed to end racial quotas, decrease funding on social welfare programs, and repeatedly stated vicious and violent homophobic and racist comments. To investigate this phenomenon, the Halle Institute for Global Research funded my time living in Rio de Janeiro and traveling to São Paulo, Brazil. 

In Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, I interviewed conservative members of the LGBTI+ and Afro-Brazilian communities in Portuguese and collected survey data from Brazilian university students which include social demographics, political opinions, voting behavior, and the impact of violence on respondents’ lives. However, my research came with certain challenges while spending my days meeting community members and academics in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. Many potential interviewees from the LGBTI+ and Afro-Brazilian communities were afraid to speak on their behalf. This challenge led me to interview only four percent of the identified participants. Fear and opposition are now a central component of understanding conservative voting behavior in the LGBTI+ and Afro-Brazilian communities of Brazil. On the other hand, this challenge led me to further examine the life stories of marginalized Brazilians who voted for President Bolsonaro. 

As my research evolves, I hope to explain the fundamental role that news broadcasters and leaders in the LGBTI+ and Afro-Brazilian communities can have in relieving political tensions and addressing mutual hopes and political concerns of polarized individuals within such communities.