In This Review

Democratic Brazil: Actors, Institutions, and Processes
Democratic Brazil: Actors, Institutions, and Processes
Edited by Peter R. Kingstone and Timothy J. Power
University of Pittsburgh Press, 2000, 330 pp

An exceptionally valuable book with contributions from a new generation of American scholars. Based on fresh research from the 1990s, the volume gives Brazilian democracy a mixed report card: democratic institutions are still problematic; Brazilian society and the rule of law remain highly unequal; and clientelism continues to be pervasive. The contributors all point out that inequality cannot be understood without exploring its ethnic and racial dimensions, which in turn profoundly affect the quality of democracy in Brazil. Still, Brazilian democracy has proven innovative in achieving economic reform, encouraging democratic participation at local and state levels, settling disputes between business and labor, and promoting civil society. Rich in detail and interpretation, this is one of best collective efforts on Brazil in years, reflecting a nation transformed over the past two decades. Despite all the ambiguities, setbacks, and continuing obstacles, the authors make clear that the conditions for sustaining democracy are better than ever.