The Throes of Democracy. Brazil Since 1989


The Throes of Democracy:
Brazil since 1989

Bryan McCann
2008 Zed Books/Fernwood Publishing
175 pages

BY PAYING attention to the socio-cultural dynamics of democratisation, Bryan McCann has done scholars of Brazilian politics and political economy a service. The Throes of Democracy reminds us that you cannot understand transformations of the magnitude undergone by this regional powerhouse as it has replaced military dictatorship with its own sui generis democracy without taking into account the expressions of political change in wider society. Democracy, it must be remembered, implies pluralism and free expression. McCann probes the relationships between formal political phenomena – in particular, the rise of the Left – with sociological factors such as urban violence and pentecostalism. Hardly surprising for a scholar whose first book was Hello, Hello Brazil: Popular Music in the Making of Modern Brazil. The portrait of Brazil that emerges in The Throes of Democracy is both well informed and highly accessible. – JK

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