Widening Democracy: Citizens and Participatory Schemes in Brazil and Chile


From democratic restoration in the 1980s up to today, most Latin American countries have been struggling constantly to find a workable balance between the need to strengthen the authority of state institutions and their citizens’ aspirations to have a real say in the decision-making process. This book looks at the contrasting ways in which both Brazil and Chile have been dealing with societal demands for participation during the last two decades. The contributors to this volume highlight a series of historical and political factors that help to understand why Brazil has been able to introduce innovative democratizing policies while Chile has largely failed in the advancement of participatory schemes as its decision-making process continues to be heavily top-down and technocratic.

Contributors: Rebecca N. Abers, Gianpaolo Baiocchi, Adolfo Castillo Díaz, Herwig Cleuren, Gonzalo Delamaza, Vicente Espinoza, Joe Foweraker, Marcus Klein, Kees Koonings, Adalmir Marquetti, Patricio Navia, William R. Nylen, Paul W. Posner, Patricio Silva, and Brian Wampler.
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Biographical Note

Patricio Silva, Ph.D. (1987) in Political Science, Leiden University, is Professor of Modern Latin American History at Leiden University and Director of the Department of Latin American Studies. He has published extensively on the technocratic phenomenon in Latin America including In the Name of Reason: Technocrats and Politics in Chile (Pennsylvania State University Press, 2008).

Herwig Cleuren, Ph.D. (2001) in Sociology of Development, Leiden University, has been Assistant Professor of Modern Latin American Studies at Leiden University. He is the author of several publications on participatory democracy in Brazil and Chile, including ‘Local Democracy and Participation in Post-Authoritarian Chile’ ( European Review of Latin American and Caribbean Studies, 2007).

Review Quotes

Widening Democracy: Citizens and Participatory Schemes in Brazil and Chile is an excellent attempt to put together the debates on democratization and participation through a comparative perspective. Though there are other books on participatory budgeting today, none of them binds in such an original way the debates on political tradition before the period of authoritarianism, types of transition, and the role of civil society in the transition and the different processes of constitution making. The reader of the book will greatly enrich his/her conception about the construction of democracy in Latin America.

Leonardo Avritzer
Federal University of Minas Gerais, Brazil

Table of contents

List of Figures and Tables

1. Assessing Participatory Democracy in Brazil and Chile: An Introduction, Patricio Silva and Herwig Cleuren


2. Grassroots Movements and Political Activism in Chile and Brazil, Joe Foweraker
3. Local Democracy and Popular Participation in Chile and Brazil, Paul W. Posner


4. Participative Institutions in Brazil: Mayors and the Expansion of Accountability in Comparative Perspective, Brian Wampler
5. The Redistributive Effects of the Participatory Budgeting in Porto Alegre, Adalmir Marquetti
6. Politicizing the Civic: Participatory Budgeting in Porto Alegre, Gianpaolo Baiocchi
7. State-Society Synergy and the Problems of Participation in Porto Alegre, Rebecca N. Abers
8. Assessing the Claims of Proponents and Critics of the Participatory Budget: Lessons from Minas Gerais, Brazil, William R. Nylen
9. Surviving Regime Change?: Participatory Democracy and the Politics of Citizenship in Porto Alegre, Kees Koonings


10. Civic Deliberation and Participatory Budgeting: The case of San Joaquín, Santiago de Chile, Adolfo Castillo Díaz
11. Participation and Mestizaje of State-Civil Society in Chile, Gonzalo de la Maza
12. Citizens’ Involvement and Social Policies in Chile: Patronage or Participation? Vicente Espinoza
13. Old Habits in New Clothes, or Clientelism, Patronage and the Unión Demócrata Independiente, Marcus Klein
14. Top-Down and Bottom-Up Democracy in Chile under Bachelet, Patricio Navia

List of Contributors


All those interested in citizens' participatory schemes, local democracy, citizenship, and state-civil society relations in Latin America.


Collection Information