ST 2 THE PROBLEM OF DEMOCRACY IN TWO BRAZILIAN GOVERNANCE EXPERIENCES
ResumoThis paper puts into question the relation between the State and civil society in Brazil from the standpoint of the notion of governance. Initially, it describes the context in which the idea of governance arrived at the debate concerning the state in Brazil in the 1990s. The country had completed a long process of democratization, after the military dictatorship. Reflecting on the historical experience allows putting into perspective themes such as popular participation, social control and political decentralization, which set the foundations for the democratic state in Brazil, as established in the 1988 Constitution. Next, two cases are presented, the Participative Budget in Porto Alegre and the Porto Maravilha Project in Rio de Janeiro. The Participative Budget of the city of Porto Alegre is an emblematic case of popular involvement in decision-making over public investments. It gained widespread reputation as an innovative form of political participation that suggested that the “radicalization of democracy” could become reality. Prior to the use of the notion of governance in government rhetoric, civil society participation and direct democracy were considered the dominant alternative to the elections based liberal model, often resembling the authoritarianism of the military regime. Popular participation would guarantee permeability of the State to societal demands, and therefore, would ensure legitimacy to public administration.