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Revista Brasileira de Ciências Sociais

On-line version ISSN 1806-9053

Abstract

RODRIGUES, Leôncio Martins. Parties, ideology and social composition. Rev. bras. Ci. Soc. [online]. 2002, vol.17, n.48, pp.31-47. ISSN 1806-9053.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0102-69092002000100004.

The article analyzes the relationship between the ideological orientations of the main six Brazilian parties and the occupational composition of their rank-and-file. Two right-wing parties, two from the center and another two left wing ones were selected, defined according to the standard concept used: PPB, PFL, PMDB, PSDB, PDT and PT, respectively. The relationship between the social composition and the ideological orientation of these parties was done by investigating the profile of the parties'members for the 51st Legislature in the Lower House, elected in 1998. The analysis showed a marked difference in terms of occupational composition and in the patrimony dimension of the members. The parties classified as right wing recruited their rank-and-file mainly from managerial segments and high ranked public administrators whereas the left wing parties, among the liberal professionals, intellectuals, teachers, white and blue-collar employees (the latter being generally former trade union members). For the parties considered to be centerist, the presence of managers is important but they form a minority inside these parties and, at the same time, there are no members from the popular classes. The article shows, on the other hand, that the present Brazilian political class in the current legislature comes, in its almost totality, from four occupational segments: managers, liberal professionals, teachers and former public servants.

Keywords : Parties; ideology; congressmen; political class; right-center-left.

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