This project examines the growing interest in military careers among young people in Brazil and how such renewed interest may be connected to a lack of opening positions in other areas.

Motivation: Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is of common understanding that cities across the world will face economic decline, with young people, especially those not yet in the labour market and unable to join a university first or second degree, strongly hit by a combination of lack of opening positions and lack of work experience. In Brazil, young people out of the job market were known, in the years following the last economic recession (2015-16), as “nor-nor” (nem-nem); nor were they looking for a job, nor were they working/studying. In such situations, military recruitment thrives as it is of relatively easy access, focused on young people, and almost universally present. The growth of militarisation in places like Brazil sorely lacks a nuanced interpretation related to economic opportunity.   

Contribution: This research adds to studies on youth, economic crisis, and military recruitment in Brazil; it unpacks where this option is most popular and why. Our research adds to literature that examines the struggle for democratization in Brazil, which looks mainly at militarization on an institutional level, such as cabinet composition and budget allocation.