Mediated Citizenship

By Goetz Ottmann: [Abstract]

Most authors focusing on Brazil’s democratic transition argue that the survival of ‘traditional’ elements tends to inhibit the emergence of modern democratic structures and weakens democratic processes. This article examines the space between ‘traditional’ and ‘modern’ democratic politics. Drawing on the example of three municipalities administered by the Brazilian Workers’ Party (PT), a party internationally renowned for its capacity to democratise municipal politics, the article argues that successful democratisation does not eradicate clientelism and patronage. It tends to incorporate and build on these ‘traditional’ political elements. Moreover, the article maintains that the democratisation of municipal politics is inextricably bound up with the eradication of poverty and the construction of a responsive, state-based social safety net.

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