Securing Sex: Morality and Repression in the Making of Cold War Brazil

Securing Sex: Morality and Repression in the Making of Cold War Brazil

by Benjamin A. Cowan

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In this history of right-wing politics in Brazil during the Cold War, Benjamin Cowan puts the spotlight on the Cold Warriors themselves. Drawing on little-tapped archival records, he shows that by midcentury, conservatives--individuals and organizations, civilian as well as military--were firmly situated in a transnational network of right-wing cultural activists. They subsequently joined the powerful hardline constituency supporting Brazil's brutal military dictatorship from 1964 to 1985. There, they lent their weight to a dictatorship that, Cowan argues, operationalized a moral panic that conflated communist subversion with manifestations of modernity, coalescing around the crucial nodes of gender and sexuality, particularly in relation to youth, women, and the mass media.

The confluence of an empowered right and a security establishment suffused with rightist moralism created strongholds of anticommunism that spanned government agencies, spurred repression, and generated attempts to control and even change quotidian behavior. Tracking how limits to Cold War authoritarianism finally emerged, Cowan concludes that the record of autocracy and repression in Brazil is part of a larger story of reaction against perceived threats to traditional views of family, gender, moral standards, and sexuality--a story that continues in today's culture wars.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781469627519
Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
Publication date: 03/02/2016
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 340
Sales rank: 1,159,248
File size: 5 MB

About the Author

Benjamin A. Cowan is assistant professor of history at George Mason University.

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From the Publisher

By treating right-wing discourses about morality with the same seriousness with which others have treated left-wing discourses, Benjamin Cowan expands our understandings of why dictatorships resonated in post-World War II Latin America and how the regimes and their opponents negotiated word and action.—Jeffrey Lesser, Emory University

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