En línea: Unequal and Divided: The Middle Classes in Contemporary Brazil / Costa, Sérgio


São Paulo: Mecila 2022 (Mecila Working Paper 45).


The middle class, or rather middle classes, to do justice to their heterogeneity, have been and continue to be at the centre of the long political and economic crisis that has been ravaging Brazil since 2014. Available interpretations that try to explain the positions taken by different political authors are biased by structural, ideological, or cultural determinism. To escape these determinisms, I draw on Stuart Hall’s political sociology in order to understand the link between the class situation of the middle classes and their constitution as political subjects of various shades as contingent intersectional articulations. The emphasis on contingency obviously does not imply a belief that political developments are fortuitous and detached from social structures. Nor does it ignore the existence of groups with deeply held ideological or cultural convictions who consistently adopt, over long periods of time, political attitudes compatible with these beliefs. However, taken as a whole, the middle classes have shown a very heterogeneous and changing political trajectory over time. They adhere to discourses – both right-wing or more egalitarian ones – and make political choices based on the power of these narratives to capture, in given circumstances, their anxieties, expectations, claims and aspirations.

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