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Revista de Sociologia e Política

On-line version ISSN 1678-9873

Abstract

BAQUERO, Marcello. Building another society: social capital in the structuring of participatory political culture in Brazil. Rev. Sociol. Polit. [online]. 2003, n.21, pp.83-108. ISSN 1678-9873.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0104-44782003000200007.

This article examines the relationship between democracy, political culture and social capital in Brazil. The topic is approached comprehensively, based on the belief that the above concepts are in permanent interaction. In the Brazilian case, however, it is possible to identify several factors that have historically had a impact on the configuration of a type of political culture, hybrid in nature, that brings together attitudes that are favorable to democracy and negative toward political institutions. It is argued that this problem is neither temporary nor conjunctural; rather, it is structural and poses difficulties for strengthening democracy. Within such a scenario the development of social capital would increase citizens' power, in theory and practice, allowing them wider participation in the political arena. Data used here are based on quantitative and qualitative research carried out in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, between 1974 and 2000. Study results suggest that Brazilians are weak on ability to cooperate, which may explain low rates of political participation and consequent democratic instability.

Keywords : political culture; democracy; social capital; political participation.

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