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Cadernos EBAPE.BR

versão On-line ISSN 1679-3951

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WELLS, Stephen Coakley. The importance of being earners: the democratic, institutional and socio-political influence of Brazil's elite. Cad. EBAPE.BR [online]. 2010, vol.8, n.4, pp.661-675. ISSN 1679-3951.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1679-39512010000400007.

This article considers the elite in Brazilian society as a core feature of political culture and examines its involvement in the development of democracy in post authoritarian Brazil from a socio-political and institutional point of view. Brazil's elite have been criticized as having an ambiguous attitude towards democracy. Some scholars have suggested that Brazil's elite exhibit no discernible preference for either authoritarian or democratic forms of government, but rather, endorse whichever type of government preserves its economic wellbeing. Does, therefore, the proliferation of the elite in Brazilian politics add a new element to the literature on Brazil's democratic consolidation? Is elite participation in Brazil's burgeoning democracy really just a paradox between developing a stable democracy, on the one hand, and promoting self-serving (elitist) interests, on the other? This is perhaps the paramount dilemma of the elite's participation in Brazil's democratic consolidation and the major question which I will consider in the conclusion.

Palavras-chave : Brazil; elite; institutions; politics; democracy.

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