Routledge Handbook of Brazilian Politics
Authors: Bruno Bolognesi; Luis Felipe Guedes da Graça; Robert Bonifácio; Wellington Nunes
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The first part of the ‘Routledge Handbook of Brazilian Politics’, entitled ‘The Input Side’, is dedicated, as the title suggests, to a societal approach rather than an institutional one with an emphasis on political phenomena and processes. There is a markedly socio-political bent to the book’s treatment of the themes of its eight chapters: corruption; political participation; gender and race relations; religion and politics; social movements; innovative democratic decision-making processes; representation of interests. The makeup of book’s chapters does not follow what might be considered standard for handbooks, i.e. they do not merely set forth an overview of the specialized literature; they also include critical readings of the work and analyses of extensive current databases.
The chapter by Senters, Weitz-Shapiro and Winters (2019) addresses the theme of corruption, a perennial leitmotif of Brazilian politics and one that has assumed greater importance in public debate since 2005 thanks to the Mensalão scandal, itself reinforced by the June 2013 protests and Operation Lava-Jato from 2014. The authors seek to provide an overview of attitudinal patterns related to corruption and explanatory factors for them. To this end, they survey a large sample of opinion polls: 69 of them, covering three decades, from 1985 to 2015. Key findings include: 01. sustained growth – from 2005 onwards – of the perception that corruption is the worst of Brazil’s problems, combined with a diminishing perception of the capacity of successive governments to combat it; 02. the existence of a positive correlation between being male, well-off and/or having been asked to pay bribes and the perception that corruption is Brazil’s biggest problem; and 03. the existence of an association between party sympathy and perception of corruption, in the sense that party sympathy for the Workers’ Party (PT) – during the period in which it was in government – is associated with a reduced perception of corruption being Brazil’s number one problem.