As I write these lines, I tell myself there is no reason to fear. Far-right politics are on the rise globally – yet the universities in Brazil that were recently raided in a clear attack on freedom of expression seem a long way from the UK. This has not prevented, however, my personal and professional selves becoming increasingly entangled as I watched Jair Bolsonaro, one of the most obnoxious figures in Brazilian politics, become the country’s president-elect.
As a Brazilian citizen, and an academic interested in ethics, social justice, and sustainability, I have caught myself asking how to resist in times of “Bolsonarism”. After all, in my everyday life, I live by values which are in direct opposition to it. The answer I found, which might make some fellow scientists (including social scientists) raise their eyebrows, is to be overtly political.
If our practices as researchers and educators are already value-laden, we should then ask ourselves which values we want to pursue. As a form of academic activism, we should be ready to lobby – not necessarily for funding, which is already the most established form of scientific lobbying – but, through our research, for diversity, human and environmental rights.