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Charles R. Hale, Director SRH 1.310, 2300 Red River Street D0800, Austin, TX 78712 • 512.471.5551

Lecture: "Regenerating Democracy in Brazil: Popular Participation, Interlocking Institutions, and Social Justice"

Mon, March 25, 2013 • 12:00 PM • BAT 5.108

Brian Wampler, Boise State University

Citizens and government officials in Brazil are developing a multi-level, integrated participatory system that addresses three basic problems typically faced by representative democracies: limited collective action among low-income citizens, poorly performing local states, and public good allocations that favor of middle and upper classes. The new participatory architecture relies on three complementary innovations: direct citizen participation in multiple decision-making venues; interlocking institutions that connect citizens and government officials along vertical, horizontal, and cross-sector lines; and rules that have a preferential bias in favor of poor and traditionally marginalized groups. This presentation shows how Brazil’s participatory architecture provides novel solutions to address basic democratic deficits embedded in representative democracy and devolves the analytical lens to the city of Belo Horizonte, Brazil where five successive mayoral administrations were committed to democratic reform. Drawing on this successful case, we see a glimpse of Brazil’s future political arrangements because Belo Horizonte has been at the forefront of efforts to adopt political institutions that reflect the ideals of the 1988 Constitution.

Dr. Brian Wampler is Professor of Political Science at Boise State University and author of Participatory Budgeting in Brazil: Cooperation, Contestation, and Accountability (Penn State University Press, 2007). In 2009-2010, Wampler was a Fulbright Scholar at the Federal University of Minas Gerais. He is currently completing his next book, Regenerating Democracy in Brazil: Popular Participation, Interlocking Institutions, and Social Justice. Wampler has published extensively on civil society, citizen participation, and democratic institutions in journals such as Comparative Politics, World Development, Polity, and Latin American Politics and Society.

For more information, contact Zachary Elkins.

Sponsored by: Department of Government, Brazil Center, LLILAS


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