Dados vol. 34 n. 3 Rio de Janeiro 1991

Democracia e Reforma Institucional no Brasil: Uma Cultura Política em Mudança

Lamounier, Bolívar; Souza, Amaury de


The concept of political culture is normally used at a very generic level to refer to the long-term values and aspirations regarding a given political system that are shared by the citizens of a nation. The present article takes an approach that intends to be more concrete and potentially relevant over a shorter span of time. The authors contend that institutional modifications, such as changes in systems of government or in voting systems, bring to light important cultural attitudes, in the form of specific preferences of opinions. ln order to arrive at a better understanding of this process within the context of the Brazilian transition, the authors examine institutional changes as a function both of democracy as a general value and of three institutional areas, or focal points, each of which is characterized by specific trade-offs: expansion of the political market, which has to do with rights to participate and share in the redistribution of power resources; links of representation, which have to do with the greater or lesser density of the bonds between individuals and the political-institutional system; and the system of government, that is, presidentialism or parliamentarianism. The authors analyze these three institutional focal points through reference to surveys of Brazil's masses and of its elites conducted before, during, and after the 1987/88 Constitutional Congress. Their main conclusions are: (a) the Brazilian political culture has become more democratic in recent decades and (b) Brazil does not have a "presidential tradition" capable of preemptively and decisively conditioning popular attitudes against a possible option for parliamentarianism.

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Democracia e Reforma Institucional no Brasil: Uma Cultura Política em Mudança