Machiavelli in the tropics : assessing participatory democracy in northeast Brazil
Title: Machiavelli in the tropics : assessing participatory democracy in northeast Brazil
Author: FERREIRA DO VALE, Hélder
Citation: Korean journal of Latin American and Caribbean studies, 2014, Vol. 33, No. 2, pp. 89-128
This article applies Machiavelli’s republican thought to the development of participatory democracy introduced in Northeast Brazil. The aim of the article is to show that the notions of Machiavelli’s popular government remain relevant to current democratic methods. The article analyzes civic engagement and participatory decision-making through some predictions advanced by Machiavelli concerning state-society relations, legitimacy of public institutions, and sustainability of civic engagement. Furthermore, the article assesses the implementation of the participatory experience in one city, Camaragibe, in the Brazilian northeast, which became a leading example of municipal participatory democracy. In light of Machiavelli’s republicanism, the article concludes that Camaragibe’s local level participatory experience is mixed with successes and failures.
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