Book Review – “Democratic Brazil Revisited”

My review of Peter R. Kingstone and Timothy J. Power’s edited volume Democratic Brazil Revisited is up on H-Net.

Upon Dilma Rousseff’s inauguration in January 2011, the Brazilian and international press made much of her importance as the first woman president in Brazilian history. Her election was notable for another reason: she was the first Workers’ Party (Partido dos Trabalhadores, PT) candidate to win the presidency in the wake of Luís Inácio “Lula” da Silva’s administration. Her election said as much about how far Brazilian democracy has come since the end of a military regime in 1985 as it did about how much the PT has changed.

Brazilian democracy and the PT are the two focuses of Peter R. Kingstone and Timothy J. Power’s edited volume, Democratic Brazil Revisited. Kingstone and Power had previously editedDemocratic Brazil: Actors, Institutions, and Processes, published in 1999. That collection painted an uncertain and occasionally bleak future for democracy in Brazil’s political systems. InDemocratic Brazil Revisited, Kingstone and Power bring together political scientists from Brazil and the United States to consider the functioning of democracy and politics in Brazil in the wake of Lula’s 2006 reelection. Although only nine years elapsed between the two volumes, Democratic Brazil Revisited draws much different conclusions, finding that democratic systems are thriving and strong in Brazil. However, the ongoing inequalities in Brazilian society temper the great strides in institutional stability in Brazil. Thus, while in 1999 the very democratic institutions in Brazil seemed to be threatened, today it is social democracy, and not political democracy, that faces an uncertain future.

You can read the rest here.

About Colin M. Snider

I have a Ph.D. in history, specializing in Latin American History and Comparative Indigenous History. My dissertation focused on Brazil. Beyond Latin America generally, I'm particularly interested in class identities, military politics, human rights, labor, education, music, and nation. I can be found on Twitter at @ColinMSnider.
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