Leonardo Avritzer

is Associate Professor in Political Science at the School of Liberal Arts of the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (Brazil).


What are the historic roots, social preconditions, and future chances for the participatory democracy movements of the recent years? In this text, an introduction to a book containing case studies of recent democratic movements in Brazil, Columbia, Mozambique, Portugal and India, Boaventura de Sousa Santos and Leonardo Avritzer aim to shed light on the future developments of democratic nation states in the 21 century.
Participatory democracy, they argue, can act as social emancipatory movements, since they work for more social alternatives than the ones imposed by the states and economic conditions. Moreover, they serve to redefine more inclusive social identities, as well as acting as truly transnational democratic units.
Yet if the purpose of such participatory democracy movements is the reinvention of social emancipation, can they really bridge the gap between governmental and financial constraints, economic imperatives and the dynamics of grassroots activism? And in what ways are participatory social movements susceptible to misconduct and corruption?

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