The 1988 Brazilian Constitution’s dismemberment: abusive constitutionalism and the ending of the democratic political cycle

The hypothesis of the present work is that the most recent transformation processes suffered by the Brazilian Constitution are closely related to the ending of democratic political cycle and the opening of a new cycle – which features are still unknown. In order to explain the political cycles’ functioning, the work uses the the three moments theory of the relationship between the people and their constitution, created by Schmitt, and the theory of the populism’s chain of equivalence, developed by Laclau. In the Brazilian case, the ending of the previous political cycle will be related to the exercise of what the specialized literature has called “abusive constitutionalism”, a concept used to describe moments in which the political class uses democratic constitutional instruments to make the constitution less democratic. The result of the constant appeal to abusive constitutionalism is a “constitutional dismemberment”, causing the downfall of the 1988 Constitution’s foundations.