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Participatory Institutions in Democratic Brazil

, 224 pages
April 2009



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Participatory Institutions in Democratic Brazil

Brazil has conducted some of the world’s most stunning experiments in participatory democracy, most notably the creation of city budgets through local citizens' meetings. Leonardo Avritzer introduces a fresh analytical approach to reveal the social and institutional conditions that make civic participation most effective, expanding the empirical base for assessing these institutions. By examining participatory health councils and city master plans within a diverse group of cities—São Paulo, Belo Horizonte, and Salvador—this book goes beyond the current literature, which has focused almost exclusively on budgeting in Porto Alegre. Ultimately, Participatory Institutions in Democratic Brazil provides a more complex understanding of the links among participation, citizenship, and democracy through a set of case studies that will resonate both inside and outside Brazil.

Leonardo Avritzer, an associate professor of political science at the Federal University of Mina Gerais, Brazil, has been a major contributor to the political sociology of Latin America. He was a public policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center in 2006.

" Participatory Institutions in Democratic Brazil manifests mastery of a wide terrain and an impressive degree of good judgment about a wide panorama. It has much to offer in terms of new information, and will likely be welcomed by experts."

"This is an ambitious, original book that opens up a new field of analysis about the role of participation in democracy, reorienting the current debate on civil society and civic engagement in a different direction and linking it to the crucial question of democratic institutionalization."

"Accessibly written and very readable."

"One of the most important contributions to the literature on urban politics and policy-making in Brazil to be published in recent years."

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