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Precarious Democracy: Ethnographies of Hope, Despair, and Resistance in Brazil

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Brazil changed drastically in the 21st century’s second decade. In 2010, the country’s outgoing president Lula left office with almost 90% approval. As the presidency passed to his Workers' Party successor, Dilma Rousseff, many across the world hailed Brazil as a model of progressive governance in the Global South. Yet, by 2019, those progressive gains were being dismantle Brazil changed drastically in the 21st century’s second decade. In 2010, the country’s outgoing president Lula left office with almost 90% approval. As the presidency passed to his Workers' Party successor, Dilma Rousseff, many across the world hailed Brazil as a model of progressive governance in the Global South. Yet, by 2019, those progressive gains were being dismantled as the far right-wing politician Jair Bolsonaro assumed the presidency of a bitterly divided country. Digging beneath this pendulum swing of policy and politics, and drawing on rich ethnographic portraits, Precarious Democracy shows how these transformations were made and experienced by Brazilians far from the halls of power. Bringing together powerful and intimate stories and portraits from Brazil's megacities to rural Amazonia, this volume demonstrates the necessity of ethnography for understanding social and political change, and provides crucial insights on one of the most epochal periods of change in Brazilian history.  


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Brazil changed drastically in the 21st century’s second decade. In 2010, the country’s outgoing president Lula left office with almost 90% approval. As the presidency passed to his Workers' Party successor, Dilma Rousseff, many across the world hailed Brazil as a model of progressive governance in the Global South. Yet, by 2019, those progressive gains were being dismantle Brazil changed drastically in the 21st century’s second decade. In 2010, the country’s outgoing president Lula left office with almost 90% approval. As the presidency passed to his Workers' Party successor, Dilma Rousseff, many across the world hailed Brazil as a model of progressive governance in the Global South. Yet, by 2019, those progressive gains were being dismantled as the far right-wing politician Jair Bolsonaro assumed the presidency of a bitterly divided country. Digging beneath this pendulum swing of policy and politics, and drawing on rich ethnographic portraits, Precarious Democracy shows how these transformations were made and experienced by Brazilians far from the halls of power. Bringing together powerful and intimate stories and portraits from Brazil's megacities to rural Amazonia, this volume demonstrates the necessity of ethnography for understanding social and political change, and provides crucial insights on one of the most epochal periods of change in Brazilian history.  

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