Traditional Politics and Regime Change in Brazil

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From 1964 to 1985 Brazil was governed by a military dictatorship unlike its predecessors but soon to become the model for other authoritarian regimes in South America. It attracted civilian technocrats and foreign investors to engineer an "economic miracle," and to consolidate its economic model it initiated sweeping political change that was intended to rid Brazilian society of radical social movements and the state and political system of traditional politics and elites. This study demonstrates that military aims notwithstanding, a traditional political elite has persisted in Brazil through two regime changes - one to and one from authoritarian rule. During the dictatorship, traditional politicians retained considerable power in the state governments, which were their traditional redoubts. In particular, they continued to occupy high-level appointed offices that permitted them to retain control of patronage, their most important political resource. Since the transition to democracy, as prominent Brazilian intellectuals have charged, genuine political debate has fallen victim to a restoration of oligarchical power and clientelistic practices typical of traditional Brazilian politics. This study argues that the military project was severely constrained by the pattern of mediation between state and society that it inherited, the expansion of the state's productive, regulatory, and distributive roles that underlay its model for economic stabilization and development, and the need to marshal political support for the largely symbolic elections that it permitted as part of its strategy for governing. State-led capitalist development led to an expansion of clientelism in that it enhanced both the state's resource base and the number of clients dependent on state programs, at the same time that more competitive elections made the resort to clientelism, and the traditional politicians who could marshal votes on this basis, more compelling. By leading a negotiated tran

"Landmark study draws connections between subnational politics and macropolitical change in Brazil. Uses case study of Minas Gerais state to show persistence of traditional patronage politics under military rule and its repercussions in the subsequent democratic transition. Theoretically rich and cogently presented; a major contribution on Brazilian politics. Recommended"--Handbook of Latin American Studies, v. 57.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Hagopian's study deserves the epithet landmark or breakthrough." C.E. Landers, Choice

" provides a comprehensive and detailed account of politics in an important Brazilian state....Hagopian's ITraditional Politics and Regime Change in Brazil should be read by anyone interested in democracy, development, and the interaction between polticians and the institutions they inhabit." David S. Brown, American Political Review

"...enviable for its first-rate scholarly research. It is also masterfully organized, crisp and deliberate in its presentation, and nicely executed in linking a cleanly specified argument to appropriate and well-documented evidence. Hagopian's discussion is theoretically sensitive, grounded empirically in case materials, and embedded in broader theoretical debates in the literature. The logic of the argument is clear, and Hagopian proceeds carefully to take readers through each step with evidence to show the persistence of the Mineiro traditional elite during three historical moments." Lating American Research Review

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Product Details

Table of Contents

List of tables and figures
Glossary of abbreviations and Portuguese terms
1 Introduction: Traditional politics, new authoritarianism 1
2 Oligarchical power and traditional politics in Minas Gerais 36
3 The modern political economy of traditional politics 73
4 Bureaucratic authoritarianism and the state elite 104
5 Back to patronage: State clientelism in Minas Gerais 140
6 Authoritarian politics and traditional elites 178
7 The traditional political elite and the transition to democracy 211
8 Continuity in change: Brazilian authoritarianism and democratization in comparative perspective 253
Appendix The Minas elite 283
References 286
Index 307
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