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Synergizing civil society: state-civil society regimes in Porto Alegre, Brazil

Political Power and Social Theory

ISBN: 978-0-76230-883-5, eISBN: 978-1-84950-154-5

Publication date: 15 November 2002


In this paper I discuss the impact of participatory reforms to municipal governance on local civil society in Porto Alegre, Brazil. Carried out by administrators of the Worker's Party (PT), these reforms have created a variety of empowered participatory fora on municipal policy. In contrast to a previous period of “tutelage” in which neighborhood associations vacillated between acquiescence and conflict with municipal government, these reforms have fostered new institutions in civil society, a greater interconnectedness between local organizations, and a ‘scaling up’ of activism away from solely neighborhood to city-wide concerns. To properly consider this impact I propose a ‘relational’ framework that considers the role of state-civil society relationships in creating an environment more or less conducive to civic involvement.


Baiocchi, G. (2002), "Synergizing civil society: state-civil society regimes in Porto Alegre, Brazil", Davis, D.E. (Ed.) Political Power and Social Theory (Political Power and Social Theory, Vol. 15), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 3-52.



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