From Tactical Media to Coded Activism: Techno-determinism and Strategic Fails in Media Uses by Brazilian Progressive Social Movements in Bolsonaro's Electoral Victory


  • Carlos Figueiredo


This paper analyzes the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) by social movements in Brazil, especially during the 2018 presidential elections won by Far Right candidate Jair Bolsonaro. I argue that techno-deterministic behavior of Brazilian leftist groups contributed to Jair Bolsonaro's victory. A broader analysis of Brazilian crisis of hegemony is made to understand the context in which social movements and digital activists act. I also criticize the concept of tactical media from a Gramscian approach. Brazilian digital activists abandoned tactical use of social media made in June 2013’s demonstrations and acted guided from a techno-deterministic belief in ICT powers. That way, those activists end up letting their political actions follow an algorithmic logic that we call encoded activism.