This research project explores how right-wing and left-wing populist movements use jingles, arts and music to create new forms of political awareness, participation and critique during the 2018 and 2022 elections in Brazil.
Inspired by critical algorithm studies and work on music and politics, this project develops a new concept of ‘sonic policing’ through an ethnographic study of how political jingles are used in presidential election campaigns in Brazil. It aims to investigate how right-wing and left-wing parties identify popular songs and make choices in terms of what melodies, grooves and sounds to use in order to convince their voters.
Through a series of interviews with political leaders and campaign managers in Alliance for Brazil and PMDB (right-wing parties) and PSOL and PT (left-wing parties) we explore how different parties engage and invest in sonic policing and examine their different rationalities for doing so related to the 2022 election and the 2018 election.
The analysis pay attention to:
- citizens’ resistance and/or embracement of political jingles
- the money invested in such forms of political marketing
- the amount of time and energy spend on sonic policing per neighbourhood (e.g. hours of sonic policing per day, repetitions of each song, decibel levels)
- the use of algorithms in deciding which songs to invest in and where to disseminate them
- the use of social media platforms in disseminating jingles and how people distribute jingles they like through their own networks.
We focus on differences and similarities in how leftist and right-wing parties use jingles in election and critically discuss whether jingles may enhance participatory democracy in Brazil or contribute to new forms of manipulation that reproduce clientelist relationships.
This study provides a much-needed perspective on the aesthetic, emotional, affective and embodied aspects of algorithmic governance in practice.
This is a sub-project of the larger research project “Algorithmic Governance and Cultures of Policing: Comparative Perspectives from Norway, India, Brazil, Russia, and South Africa” led by Christin T. Wathne.
Participants at OsloMet