During the 1980s and 1990s, Brazil struggled to rebuild its
democracy after twenty years of military dictatorship, experiencing
financial crises, corruption scandals, political protest, and
intense electoral contention. In the midst of this turmoil, Ann
Mische argues in this remarkable book, youth activists of various
stripes played a vital and unrecognized role, contributing new
forms of political talk and action to Brazil's emerging
Drawing upon extensive and rich ethnography as well as formal
network analysis, Mische tracks the lives of young activists
through intersecting political networks, including student
movements, church-based activism, political parties,
nongovernmental organizations, and business and professional
organizations. She probes the problems and possibilities they
encountered in combining partisan activism with other kinds of
civic involvement. In documenting activists' struggles to develop
cross-partisan publics of various kinds, Mische explores the
distinct styles of communication and leadership that emerged across
organizations and among individuals.
Drawing on the ideas of Habermas, Gramsci, Dewey, and
Machiavelli, Partisan Publics highlights political
communication styles and the forms of mediation and leadership they
give rise to--for democratic politics in Brazil and elsewhere.
Insightful in its discussion of culture, methodology, and theory,
Partisan Publics argues that partisanship can play a
significant role in civic life, helping to build relations and
institutions in an emerging democracy.
Subjects: Anthropology, Political Science
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