Since the second half of the twentieth century, Brazil has been increasingly associated with the 'Global South', a concept that transcends the nation-state, encompassing marginalised groups even in the geographical Global North, and more broadly representing a shared political agenda.

Various efforts have been made to characterise and define Brazil’s place within this transnational space, in particular in terms of its relationship with other Global South nations. In this context, Brazil’s diplomatic relations, trade agreements, development programs, and even military deployments have been analysed in terms of South-South Cooperation (SSC).

But if the Global South also reflects a transnational imagined community and political project, then Brazil’s relationship to it takes place through various other mechanisms. Critical spheres of knowledge exchange, such as academia, cultural-artistic production, social movements, and solidarity more broadly, all represent the transnational spaces within which Brazilians relate to the concept and project of the Global South.

In a world of rapidly growing inequality and environmental challenges, the Global South as a collection of nations and a political identity is fast becoming an important source of alternatives to mainstream definitions and practices surrounding political and social relations, human rights, development, and sustainability, among other key areas of global significance. Brazil’s place within, and modes of engagement with, the Global South can therefore provide a window to a multitude of scholarly fields of study.

The objective of this special issue is to make use of this more expansive definition to produce an interdisciplinary, and multi-methodological exploration of Brazil’s relationship with the Global South. This thematic issue will be guided by the following questions:

  • How have Brazilian thinkers contributed to the conceptualisation of the so-called Global South?
  • What is the relationship between Brazil’s South-South Cooperation and the ideals of the Global South as a political project?
  • How do Brazilian social movements transcend borders to engage with the Global South? What is the role of transnationalism in this context?
  • What lessons are learned by and from the Global South in terms of Brazilian grassroots organisations and development projects?