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Dr. Thales Lelo

University of São Paulo, Brazil

Disinformation regarding race, gender, and class during the 2022 Brazilian presidential election

This proposal aims to analyze the amount and features of digital disinformation spread during the 2022 Brazilian presidential election that relies on false or misleading claims related to race, gender, and class inequalities. It assumes that, since 2018, the rise of far-right populism in Brazil has been characterized by a reactionary agenda that calls to resentment toward social minorities, even resorting to deceptive statements. Thus, it is expected that false stories reinforcing citizens’ misleading beliefs regarding the collective rights of historically oppressed groups will poison the 2022 electoral cycle, distorting presidential candidates’ claims about the subject during the political campaign. The project is mainly grounded on the growing body of disinformation scholarship but advances an interdisciplinary perspective, claiming contributions from intersectional approaches, moral sociology, and sociology of values. The analysis will be conducted by a mixed-methods approach driven qualitatively. The sample will contain all deceptive content concerning the 2022 Brazilian presidential election corrected by fact-checking initiatives. The database will be submitted to an open qualitative textual analysis to determine the number of false stories related to the electoral process that revolves under the axes of race, gender, and class. Next, a critical discourse approach will examine all disinformation pieces content referring to axes of inequality to understand their meanings. This proposal may contribute to the extant research by clarifying the normative assumptions underlying deceptive messages that may not be reduced to the master frame of partisan motivated reasoning. It also puts forward a communicative approach to disinformation that encompasses situational and interactional factors underlying false stories that resort to social values and imaginaries to gain traction on social media.

Main Research Topic

  • Desinformation Studies

Dr. Thales Lelo

University of São Paulo, Brazil

Fellow at CAIS from April to September 2023