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Legal reform and decentralization processes: juridical and political aspects

Fernanda Henrique Cupertino Alcântara About the author

This article discusses decentralization in an attempt to reconcile juridical and political fields of knowledge, pointing to the characteristic differences between them in terms of the way they conceive and operationalize the concept. Decentralization is presented as a phenomenon flowing from democratization, holding possibilities for both the democratization of decision-making or the strengthening of traditional forms of political control ("coronelismo") within political relations. We attempt to demonstrate the relationship existing between federalism and decentralization, starting from the premise that there are several types of decentralization which may or may not occur simultaneously. Furthermore, we dicuss the implementation of reforms that were meant to promote decentralization as well as their actual results. In conclusion, we attempt to demonstrate that the decentralization process is not automatic and that legal clauses do not necessarily translate into social practices.

Decentralization; Legal Reform; Administrative Law

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