Authoritarianism is on the rise. For the first time in this century, the number of autocratic regimes has surpassed that of democracies. Brazil is one of the protagonists of this democratic decline. We witness the corrosion of political civility, a radicalization of political antagonism, the gradual capture and dismantling of accountability proceedings, the politicization of state bodies, and attacks to basic and fundamental rights such as freedom of the press, academic freedom, and other civil, political, socio-economic, and minorities rights. This context questions the integrity of the Brazilian democratic constitutional project. Since March 2020,the covid-19 crisis brought another set of risks. Preliminary studies regarding the impact of the pandemic on democracies in the world point to an acceleration of this authoritarian trend. In Brazil, the health crisis has exposed anti-scientificism and deepened social and political tensions.
LAUT is an independent and non-partisan research institution that aims to produce and disseminate knowledge about the quality of the rule of law and democracy. In view of the manifestations of authoritarianism in Brazil and across the globe, we believe it is urgent to stimulate dialogue and promote public debate on democracy and freedom. We also believe that quality research, in line with social sciences theories and methodologies, is an essential step to understand current events. It is also a tool to promote change and to support the mobilization of civil society in defense of democracy, basic rights and freedoms.
Our projects focus on different aspects of authoritarianism and on the various meanings freedom has, as well as their connections with values such as equality. Our ongoing research benefits from the permanent exchange with organized civil society and with researchers from Brazil and abroad.
We invite each one of you to join this space for reflection and dialogue.