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Revista de Sociologia e Política

Print version ISSN 0104-4478

Abstract

FONSECA, Igor Ferraz da; BURSZTYN, Marcel  and  MOURA, Adriana Maria Magalhães de. Technical knowledge, public policy and participation: the case of the National Council on the Environment. Rev. Sociol. Polit. [online]. 2012, vol.20, n.42, pp. 183-198. ISSN 0104-4478.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0104-44782012000200013.

This article explores the relationship between the political and technical spheres within environmental policy management councils in Brazil, based on research carried out by the National Council of the Environment (Conselho Nacional do Meio Ambiente (Conama)). Literature on the council shows that the presence of specialized knowledge can generate assymetrical power relations among actors, permitting the more skilled sectors control over political and deliberative processes. . This enables us to see how the presence of theoretical knowledge within the councils can lead to their depolitization, demonstrated by the use of technical, scientific, juridical and bureaucratic terms and procedures that empty the councils of their political functions. According to the obstacles we have pointed out, existing literature advocates efforts toward a reduction in technical management in favor of a repolitization of these spaces. . The results of the study we have developed here partially confirm elements present within the literature. Our conclusions indicate that specialized knowledge is an element that is inherent to the functioning of environmental councils. Furthermore, reduction of technical elements may prove harmful in terms of the quality of acts and deliberations that emerge from the Conama, with onus for the legal apparatus of Brazilian environmental legislation and negative impact on the implementation of public policy.

Keywords : Participation; Management Councils; Deliberation; Expertise; Conama; Environmental Policy.

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