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Revista de Sociologia e Política

On-line version ISSN 1678-9873

Abstract

NOBREGA JR., José Maria; ZAVERUCHA, Jorge  and  ROCHA, Enivaldo. Deaths due to violence in Pernambuco and in Brazil: obstacles to the consolidation of democracy. Rev. Sociol. Polit. [online]. 2011, vol.19, n.40, pp.43-58. ISSN 1678-9873.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0104-44782011000300005.

In Brazil homicide rates have reached alarming levels. Most of the analyses carried out within Political Science neglect the relationship between violence and the quality of democracy. The Economist Unit (2008)'s Index of Democracy evaluated Brazil as a country with high ratings for civil liberties. Yet it considered aspects of civil rights overlooking homicides. This led the prestigious English journal to arrive at the mistaken conclusion that Brazil fared better in terms of civil liberties that countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom. This paper seeks to analyze Brazilian democracy by incorporating this indicator (homicides) as well. Quality of democracy is our dependent variable and Pernambuco state death rates due to violence are taken as our independent variable. In order to measure democracy, we evaluate the role of coercive institutions and their inability to contain homicides within the state. Our results suggest that high death rates related to aggression may be seen as an obstacle to the consolidation of democracy in Brazil.

Keywords : democracy; violent deaths; homicide; coercive institutions; accountability.

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