Bernardo Bianchi | Forscher Fellow

Critical Thinking in the Plural. Conceptual Approaches in Research in the Social Sciences
Centre Marc Bloch, Friedrichstraße 191, D-10117 Berlin
Email: bernardobianchi  ( at ) Tel: +49(0) 30 / 20 93 70700

Disciplines : Philosophy , Political Science |


Bernardo Bianchi is Visiting Professor at the Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil (Philosophy Department-FFLCH). Previously, he was a postdoctoral fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (AvH) and of the Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel of the Brazilian Government (CAPES) at the Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main as well as at the Freie Universität Berlin (FU-Berlin) where he also lectured in the Philosophy department as visiting scholar. He holds a joint PhD in political science (Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro, IESP-UERJ) and philosophy (Paris 1, Panthéon-Sorbonne) which he obtained in 2015.


CV File

Doktorarbeit (2009-2015)

  • CNPq (Nationale Rat für Wissenschaftliche und Technologische Entwicklung der brasilianischen Regierung) und FAPERJ (Carlos Chagas Filho Stiftung für die Unterstützung der Forschung im Bundesland Rio de Janeiro)

Postdoc (2016-)

  • AvH (Alexander von Humboldt Stiftung) und CAPES (Koordinierungsstelle für die Fortbildung des Personals des Hochschulwesens der brasilianischen Regierung)

Bernardo’s main research interests are Political Philosophy, History of Philosophy and Contemporary Political Theory, as well as Social Theory. His PhD Dissertation was dedicated to the study of the idea of transformation in Spinoza and Marx.

Title of thesis
The red thread of transformation: Marx and Spinoza
Summary of thesis

Ces dernières décennies, la relation entre Spinoza et Marx a été abordée par des auteurs comme Louis Althusser, Antonio Negri et Maximilien Rubel. Néanmoins, bien que l'on puisse établir un lien entre les deux au niveau des affinités théoriques, il manque une analyse du rapport entre ces affinités et les références effectives que Marx fait à Spinoza. Nous ne savons pas davantage, jusqu'à maintenant, comment ces références s'articulent avec les objectifs du militantisme philosophique et politique que Marx s'est fixé tout au long de sa vie. La présente étude cherche donc à parcourir les premières oeuvres de Marx de manière à y étudier la présence de Spinoza, et à démontrer simultanément à quels buts cette présence était subordonnée. Parallèlement, et de façon tout aussi importante, il s'agit de montrer que, bien que ces usages font apparaître la façon dont Marx s'est éloigné de Spinoza, ils n'en révèlent pas moins que, dans cet éloignement, Marx finit par retrouver, non pas tant Spinoza, mais le spinozisme

Christian BONNET (Paris 1) | Renato LESSA (UERJ)

As part of his postdoctoral work, Bernardo Bianchi carries out a research on emancipation, which deals with both a historical analysis and a normative approach of the problem. By means of an opposition concerning the concept of “revolution”, he investigates the question of “emancipation” in such a way as to show that this word is inseparable of a certain polysemy, without ever crystallizing in a definite sense with regard to the active becoming of the multitude.

Re-Politicizing Knowledge

The current global threat to democracy is intimately tied to the rejection of a knowledge-based shared public sphere, which has often been associated with the onset of a ‘post-truth era’. My research grapples with this problem by focusing on one of its most drastic and revealing cases, namely the undoing of Brazilian democracy under Bolsonaro (2019-2022), to develop a critical and theoretical analysis vis-à-vis the relation of politics to knowledge. Many analyses on the topic insist on a hierarchical connection between the two poles, resorting to categories such as anti-intellectualism, populism, illusion, and ignorance, reinstating thereby different versions of the ‘principle of the ignorance of the people’. Instead of falling prey to facile solutions with ineffective results, such as postulating the ‘wisdom of the people’, this project starts from the assumption that this intellectualist approach is based on the premise of a neutrality (and objectivation) of knowledge, thus overlooking that the latter has been functional to power – and even more so than it has been acknowledged by a tradition tracing back to Rousseau. Accordingly, the very concept of a public sphere, as proposed by Habermas, seems inadequate to sanction the relationship between the two poles in contemporary societies, since, stemming from an objectified conception of knowledge and a reductionist conception of agency, it fails to account for the epistemic exclusions at its foundation. Against this background, this project aims at: (i) a reconceptualization of the relationship between knowledge and politics in political and social philosophies, by means of (ii) a study of alternative approaches to agency and action, informed by different perspectives, from postcolonial theory to feminist epistemology, from science and technology studies to Amerindian ethnography.

Paradoxes of Emancipation

Based on an interdisciplinary analysis of the current crisis of Brazilian democracy and social structure, the Alexander von Humboldt-linkage programme deals with the »Paradoxes of Emancipation«. The case study of contemporary Brazil shows that the complex relationship between democracy and knowledge is neither the same nor the exact counterpart of the much clearer relationship between authoritarianism and fake news. While the discourse of the radical right is based on a deliberate rejection of a knowledge-based shared public sphere, the defense of democratic structures cannot rely on a mere affirmation of the distinction between knowledge and ignorance. For it is precisely this distinction that produces exclusions, divisions and hierarchies that nourishes post-factual discourse.

Mitglieder: Jorge Chaloub (UFRJ), Bruna Coelho (CMB), Maria Luiza Cracel (USP), Thiago Dias (USP), Katia Genel (CMB/Paris 1), Edward Guetti (CMB/American University), Bénédicte Laumond (CMB/Université de Versailles), Benito Maeso (USP/UFPR), Maria Fernanda Novo (USP), Luís César Oliva (USP), Marianna Poyares (The New School), Homero Santiago (USP), Mariana Simoni (CMB/FU Berlin), Jefferson Viel (USP/UFU), Ayşe Yuva (CMB/Paris 1)


Materialism and Politics

March 02, 2021

Ayse Yuva , Bernardo Bianchi , Emilie Filion-Donato, Marlon Miguel

Edition: ICI Berlin Press
Collection: Cultural Inquiry
ISBN: 978-3-96558-018-3

What remains of materialism’s subversive potential — i.e., its ties with heresy or atheism and republicanism or communism — and to what extent does this concept still interpellate us politically and philosophically?

As neoliberal policies expanded far beyond the state, their mechanisms of control seeped into the materiality of social reproduction, solidifying a conception of matter as something inert, to be appropriated, manipulated, and exploited. If in this context the subversive nature of a reference to materiality is called into question, it has also provoked new forms of resistance, as well as fundamental reconsiderations of the political implications of the notion of ‘matter’.

Against this background, the aim of this book is to show the diversity within continued engagements with materialism as a central concept for progressive politics, be it in the direction opened up by New Materialism, in renewed forms of Marxist and Spinozist based approaches, or in feminist analyses, each in their own terms, without excluding the possibility of alliances between them.

Finally, this volume insists that the study of materiality and materialist approaches does not amount to a renunciation of philosophy, but rather urges us to broaden the task of philosophical thought in order to reconsider the historical and, in every sense of the word, material situatedness of all philosophical problems. Against a reductive and ahistorical conception of materialism — the straightest way back to ideology —, this book offers an analysis of its diverse emancipatory potentialities.

Democracy and Brazil. Collapse and Regression

September 23, 2020

Bernardo Bianchi , Jorge Chaloub, Patricia Rangel, Frieder Otto Wolf

Routledge Studies in Latin American Politics
Edition: Routledge
Collection: Routledge Studies in Latin American Politics
ISBN: 9780367897680

Democracy and Brazil: Collapse and Regression discusses the de-democratization process underway in contemporary Brazil.

The relative political stability that characterized domestic politics in the 2000s ended with the sudden emergence of a series of massive protests in 2013, followed by the controversial impeachment of Dilma Rousseff in 2016 and the election of Jair Bolsonaro in 2018. In this new, more conservative period in Brazilian politics, a series of institutional reforms deepened the distance between citizens and representatives. Brazil's current political crisis cannot be understood without reference to the continual growth of right-wing and ultra-right discourse, on the one hand, and to the neoliberal ideology that pervades the minds of large parts of the Brazilian elite, on the other. Twenty experts on Brazil across different fields discuss the ongoing political turmoil in the light of distinct problems: geopolitics, gender, religion, media, indigenous populations, right-wing strategies, and new forms of coup, among others. Updated analyses enriched with historical perspective help to illuminate the intricate issues that will determine the country's fate in years to come. 

Democracy and Brazil: Collapse and Regression will interest students and scholars of Brazilian Politics and History, Latin America, and the broader field of democracy studies.


Past 5 years

A) Publications with peer review process

1. Bianchi, B. (2017) "Les affinités aléatoires: une contribution à l’étude du rapport Spinoza-Marx" (Aleatory Affinities: A Contribution to the Study of the Spinoza-Marx Relationship). In: Asterion: philosophie, histoire des idées, pensée politique (Lyon), V. 16.

2. Bianchi, B. (2015) "Revolução: da anakyklosis à utopia liberal de Sieyès" (Revolution: from anakyklosis to the liberal utopia of Sieyès). In: Lua Nova (São Paulo), V. 97.

3. Bianchi, B. (2015) "Vauvenargues: un moralista sedicioso" (Vauvenargues: a seditious moralist). In: Revista Ingenium (Madrid), V. 9, P. 51-74.

4. Bianchi, B. (2014) "As astúcias da cumplicidade: da suposta influência de Spinoza sobre Marx" (The cunnings of complicity: Spinoza and Marx). In: Cadernos Espinosanos (São Paulo), V. 30, P. 75-93.

5. Bianchi, B. (2013) "Filosofias para a segunda natureza: estratégias do finito em Vauvenargues" (Philosophies for the second nature: strategies of finite). In: Revista de Estudos Políticos (Rio de Janeiro), V. 7 (2013/2), P. 86-107

A.1) Publications accepted but not yet published::

6. Bianchi, B. (2018) "Marx’s reading of Spinoza: on the alleged influence of Spinoza on Marx". In: Historical Materialism (London).

B) Publications without peer review process

7. Bianchi, B. (2017) "Dois conceitos de emancipação" (Two concepts of emancipation). In: Ao Largo (Rio de Janeiro), V. 4, P. 42-55.