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Brazilian Politics: Reforming a Democratic State in a Changing World

Brazilian Politics: Reforming a Democratic State in a Changing World

Alfred P. Montero

ISBN: 978-0-745-63360-2 February 2006 Polity 176 Pages


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Brazilian Politics offers the most comprehensive and up-to-date introduction to the contemporary politics of South Americas largest democracy. Accessibly written for students, the book traces the major trends in Brazils political development and analyses the main challenges facing the country today. Topics covered include the crisis of the state, economic and political causes of inequality and poverty, the failures of the electoral and party system, the widening array of social movements and non-governmental organizations, and the heightened role of Brazil in the areas of international trade, security and diplomacy.

Focusing on five key themes the strength of the state, representation, social equity, citizenship and political participation, and the role of the state in a global community of states Alfred Montero shows that Brazilian democracy has advanced greatly in recent years. However, this process is a complex one and, as the author cautions, Brazilian democracy still has a long way to go. But the high public expectations which accompanied the election of Lula da Silva to the presidency in 2002 have given Brazilian politics a renewed optimism and momentum. By building on the achievements of President Fernando Henrique Cardoso (1994-2002), the book concludes that the Lula presidency holds out the hope of changing Brazilian politics for the long haul.

Divided into 8 chapters, each containing a concise introduction outlining the core issues for discussion and an annotated guide to further reading, this book offers the most complete primer available for anyone interested in the politics of contemporary Brazil.

List of Figures.

List of Tables.

Map of Brazil.

1. An Introduction to Brazilian Politics.

2. Historical Patterns in Brazilian Politics.

3. State-Building and State Reform as a Challenge to Democratic Politics.

4. Government by and for the Few: The Persistence of Oligarchical Politics in the Representative System.

5. The Dilemma of Democratization in an Economically Unequal Society.

6. The Emergence of a Democratic Civil Society as a Force for Change.

7. Forging an Identity in a Globalized World: Brazil in the International Political Economy.

8. The Lula Government: An Experiment in Social Democracy?.



"Alfred Montero has written a very timely and succinct analysis of Brazil's 'New Republic'. His firm grasp of the literature on contemporary Brazilian politics, both in English and Portguese, and his detailed knowledge of key events in the country are what one would hope for from such a survey."

William R. Nylen, Stetson University, DeLand

  • The most comprehensive introductory textbook on contemporary Brazil currently available
  • Offers a clear and highly readable account of the state, social justice, citizenship and political participation
  • Includes a broad analysis of the role played by social movements and non-governmental organizations in bringing about change
  • Considers Brazil’s increasingly important role in international relations in a globalized world
  • Particularly clear account of the current Lula presidency and the opportunities for social and politial change which it may offer
  • The book’s interdisciplinary approach, which encompasses economics, sociology, history, politics and international relations, makes it suitable for students on a broad range of courses