Argumentation et Analyse du Discours (Apr 2022)

Polémique et populisme en temps de pandémie : légitimation et construction d’autorité chez Bolsonaro

  • Claire Sukiennik Abécassis

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 28


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This article examines the way the Brazilian President J. Bolsonaro reinforces his legitimacy and builds his authority in a populist discourse of a polemical type, gratifying for himself while attacking his adversaries. To do so, he tries to justify his refusal of health measures and at the same time to reinforce his ethos as a strong leader and a Savior, in two major national speeches as well as in his reactions to the attacks. The argumentative analysis shows how his efforts collided with and responded to a counter-discourse that developed into a public controversy. The reception of his speech shows the attacks against his person and his discourse, which he must confront to restore his legitimacy and rebuild his authority.