This article evaluates the contribution made by Wanderley Guilherme dos Santos to political theory, specifically with regard to the case of democratization in Brazil. It focuses on a selected aspect of this author's work, namely the polemic concerning political reform. Dos Santos's interpretation of political regimes, critically formulated in light of the theory of polyarchy, is determinant in his challenge to those who asserted the low quality of Brazilian democracy, and underlines the substantial progress achieved during the last decades. Building upon strands of Brazilian political thought that precede the institutionalization of social sciences, the work of dos Santos, one of the founding fathers of modern political science in Brazil, is important in the attempt to understand the advances and impasses of democracy, as well as the risks of the many proposals for political reform in the agenda.
Wanderley Guilherme dos Santos; polyarchy; political reform; political theory; Brazilian political thought