By William R. Nylen (auth.)
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The Brazilian political scientist, Evelina Dagnino, aptly labels the resulting social system one of “social authoritarianism”: . . in which economic inequality, misery, and hunger are the most visible aspect of a social order presided over by the hierarchical and unequal organization of all social relations: what we could call social authoritarianism. Profoundly rooted in Brazilian culture and based predominantly in criteria of class, race and gender, social authoritarianism reveals itself as a system of classifications that establish different categories of persons, laid out in their respective places in society.
20 ● Participatory versus Elitist Democracy: Brazil As in the United States and Western Europe, then, a healthy presence of “critical citizens” remained active in Brazil in confronting an otherwise dreary postauthoritarian political history of elitist politics and civic disengagement. As we will see in subsequent chapters (and quite unlike what we see in the United States), the articulation of many of these democratic and nonelite political activists into a progressive political party with a clear commitment to further democratization—the Workers’ Party—has served to bridge the gap between official political institutions and processes and the “citizen politics” of nonelite political activism.
7 While voting is mandatory in Brazil, 49 percent of respondents in a 1998 poll said they would not vote if they had the choice. 9 In a 1999 poll of voting-age residents of the state of São Paulo, 60 percent of respondents said they did not trust the national Congress; another 36 percent said they trusted it only a little. 11 Implications and Explanations of Civic Disengagement in Brazil As alluded to in chapter one, one of the most predominant implications of civic disengagement is its tendency to spiral into a cycle of ever-increasing disillusionment with, and further disengagement from democratic politics.
Participatory Democracy versus Elitist Democracy: Lessons from Brazil by William R. Nylen (auth.)