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Revista Brasileira de Ciências Sociais

Print version ISSN 0102-6909On-line version ISSN 1806-9053


REIS, Fábio Wanderley  and  CASTRO, Mônica Mata Machado de. Democracy, civic virtue and cynicism: an empirical study on norms and rationality. Rev. bras. Ci. Soc. [online]. 2001, vol.16, n.45, pp.25-46. ISSN 0102-6909.

The article deals with the problem of democracy and its institutionalization and consolidation. Starting from the confrontation between a conventionally sociological perspective, which stresses the role of norms, and a rational-choice perspective, which emphasizes the calculus referred to interests, the authors raise the issue of the role of cognitive factors with regard to both aspects. With recourse to survey data produced in Brazil some years ago, a rather complex mediating role is shown to be played by cognitive factors, described as "political sofistication", between the civic adherence to norms and the selfish or cynical promotion of self-interest. Some implications of the observed patterns for the general theme of democracy are then explored.

Keywords : Democracy; Civic virtue; Cynicism; Norms; Rationality.

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