The Throes of Democracy

Brazil since 1989

Bryan McCann


In the 1980s, Brazil emerged from two decades of military dictatorship and embarked on a bold experiment in democracy. This book explores that tumultuous time.
In the 1980s, Brazil emerged from two decades of military dictatorship and embarked on an experiment in full democracy for the first time in the nation's history Since then, Brazilians have sought to live up to the ideals of this experiment while negotiating dramatic economic and cultural transformations.

In The Throes of Democracy Bryan McCann gives a panoramic view of this process, exploring the relationships between the rise of the political left, the escalation of urban violence, the agribusiness boom and the spread of pentecostal evangelization. Brazil remains a land marked by deep inequality, but in the last two decades the structure of that inequality has changed substantially. This is a country which remains an endlessly vital source of popular culture, now bubbling forth from different corners of the map.

In explaining these transformations, this book provides a fascinating introduction to one of the 21st century's most significant countries.

Author Bio

Bryan McCann teaches Latin American history at Georgetown University, where he is Director of the Brazilian Studies Program. He is the author of Hello, Hello Brazil: Popular Music in the Making of Modern Brazil (2004). His current research focuses on the recent history of urban conflict in Rio de Janeiro.

Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgments
  • List of Abbreviations
  • Glossary
  • Map of Brazil
  • Chronology
  • Introduction
  • 1. The Rise of the Left
  • 2. Urban Crisis
  • 3. Back to the Land
  • 4. Different Drummers
  • 5. The Pentecostal Boom
  • 6. Making Culture in Digital Brazil
  • Conclusion
  • Notes
  • Suggestions for Further Reading
  • Index


'The Throes of Democracy offers a perceptive, and highly readable, interpretation of Brazil's recent past and present. An astute observer of politics, social mores, and popular culture, Bryan McCann constructs a portrait of contemporary Brazil that helps us to understand new and long-standing problems, while also accounting for Brazilian society's dynamism and ongoing democratization.'
Barbara Weinstein, New York University

‘Keen to innovation and tradition alike, McCann judiciously weighs forces shaping postdictatorial Brazil. He interrelates political economy and cultural politics with care and insight, encompassing oral, print and digital domains. This is a remarkable and resonant report on the current Brazilian republic.’
Charles A. Perrone, University of Florida


Publication Date: 15 September 2008
192 pages

Product ISBNs: Paperback: 9781842779262
eBook ePub: 9781848137912
eBook PDF: 9781848133655
eBook Kindle: 9781780327280
Library Edition: 9781842779255

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