Associativity and political contact in the metropolitan regions of Brazil: 1988-1996. A new look at the problem of participation

Marcelo Costa Ferreira

The article compares the percentage of political participation (affiliation to unions, employees' associations, neighbourhood associations, sporting/cultural associations, philanthropic/religious associations; requests, demands, suggestions and complaints made to politicians; affiliation and militancy in political parties) in six metropolitan areas of Brazil (São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador, Recife, Porto Alegre and Belo Horizonte) in the years 1988 and 1996. The comparison was made using a sub-sample from the 1988 National Household Sample Survey (Pesquisa Nacional de Amostra por Domicílio - PNAD), and the Monthly Employment Survey (PME) of April 1996, which is compatible, and analysing information in the supplements on political participation contained in these two surveys. In the analysis of these data, a paradox is found: notwithstanding the institutional and political changes which have taken place in the country during the last eight years, the number of Brazilians actually participating in associations, both in 1988 and 1996, is tiny, and this contradicts what is found in the literature which emphasizes the significant growth in the number of associations during the 70's and 80's.

Political behaviour; Political participation; Brazilian politics; Associativity

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