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The Insurrectionist Playbook: Jair Bolsonaro and the National Congress of Brazil

Bastos, M. T. ORCID: 0000-0003-0480-1078 & Recuero, R. (2023). The Insurrectionist Playbook: Jair Bolsonaro and the National Congress of Brazil. Social Media + Society, 9(4), article number 2056305123. doi: 10.1177/20563051231211881


In this paper we unpack the 2022 Brazilian presidential campaign marked by multiple claims of electoral fraud and calls for a coup d’état by supporters of former President Jair Bolsonaro. We identify the narrative frames underpinning this insurrectionist playbook by analyzing Bolsonaro’s statements during the presidential campaign. We subsequently test the penetration of this playbook on members of the Brazilian National Congress during the campaign trail and the transition of power to the opposition candidate, when pro-Bolsonaro protesters attempted to overthrow the Federal Government. Our analyses lend support to the thesis that the coup d’état was not successful due to the dwindling support beyond the hard-core Bolsonaro base. Our results describe an insurrectionist playbook largely centered on the blueprint of false claims of electoral fraud, a playbook that can be monitored through the public statements of elected officials. We conclude with a discussion of our findings and recommendations for future research.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License ( which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages (
Publisher Keywords: Insurrection; Brazil; Social platforms; Disinformation; Bolsonaro; Coup d’état
Subjects: F History United States, Canada, Latin America > F1201 Latin America (General)
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
J Political Science > JL Political institutions (America except United States)
Departments: School of Communication & Creativity > Media, Culture & Creative Industries > Media & Communications
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