Preprint / Version 2

Deinstitutionalization and resilience of participatory councils in the Bolsonaro government




participatory councils, institutional change, Deinstitutionalization, resilience


We argue that the Bolsonaro government's measures and their effects against national councils are not homogeneous and that understanding their variation requires an analytical and empirically sensitive approach to the logic of institutional change in policy subsystems. Specifically, we argue that the set of measures against councils and the effects produced by them vary depending on two factors: i) the council’s policy agenda and its relationship with the programmatic and political choices of the government, ii) and resilience of the council. We work on the first factor as a previous move to focus on the second. The council’s policy agenda matters, we argue, because the government's strategy in relation to participation is political, not doctrinal. In this sense, decree 9,759 is an expression of an adverse position on the agendas of certain policy areas that challenge the programmatic and political choices of the Bolsonaro government, causing that deinstitutionalization unequally affects these areas. The second factor, resilience, is the result of the combination of two dimensions: the stronger or weaker institutional design and its more or less central insertion in the respective policy communities. Therefore, we propose to analyze the effects of the decree considering the distinction between macro policy areas: economic development and infrastructure, social policies, human rights and minority defenses, and environment and sustainable development. In summary, the analysis allows us to affirm that the councils most strongly affected are related to policy areas in which agendas were contrary to the political agenda of the Bolsonaro government, and also had lower resilience, considered in its two dimensions. Proportionally, the area of the environment was the most affected by councils’ revocation and the area of human rights, in turn, underwent more changes in their councils’ regulation.


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Author Biographies

Carla de Paiva Bezerra, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro

I received my PhD in Political Science from the University of São Paulo (USP) in 2020 and a I am Bachelor of Law from UnB (University of Brasília). I am a member of the federal service as a specialist in public policy and government management (a position similar to the Senior Executive Service in US), currently assigned to the FCC - UFRJ (Forum of Science and Culture of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro). I am also a collaborating researcher at Ndac-Cebrap (Democracy and Collective Action Center of the Brazilian Center for Analysis and Planning) and CEM (Metropole Study Center). In 2018, I was a visiting researcher at the University of California at Berkeley, California, United States. My research interests are related to comparative politics, participatory democracy, civil society, political parties ann public policy in Brazil and Latin America. My native language is Brazilian Portuguese and I am also fluent in English, Spanish and Italian.

Debora Rezende de Almeida, University of Brasília

Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Brasília. She holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from the Federal University of Minas Gerais. Her Ph.D. dissertation received the Honorable Mention from Capes in 2012 (Coordenação e Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior). She leads a research group on the Relationship between Civil Society and the State in Brazil (RESOCIE) at the University of Brasília. She has published articles on political representation theory, civil society participation and participatory institutions in journals and books, as well as in international congress proceedings.

Adrian Gurza Lavalle, Universidade de São Paulo

Associated Professor of the Political Science Department at University of Sao Paulo (USP) (2007- ). Fellowship Researcher of the National Council of Technological and Scientific Development (CNPq), and fellow researcher at both Brazilian Center of Analysis and Planning (Cebrap) (1999-today) and Center for Metropolitan Studies (CEM) (2008-today). Chief Editor of Brazilian Journal of Social Sciences (RBCS) and Director of Publications and Board member of the Social Sciences Research and Graduate Courses National Association (ANPOCS) (2014- ). Coordinator of the Democracy and Collective Action Research Group at CEBRAP and CNPq (2008-today). Elected member of the Advisory Council of SciELO (2016- ). Visiting Professor at the University of British Columbia, Canada, 2013, the Center for Political and Constitutional Studies (CEPC), Madrid, 2012, and Posdoctoral Fellow at Institute for Development Studies, University of Sussex. 2004 –2005. His research interests are civil society politics, democratic governance and participatory Institutions. His last co-edited book are "O papel da teoria política contemporânea - Justiça, Constituição, Democracia e Representação" (Alameda, 2015, co-edited with Álvaro de Vita e Cícero Araújo); "La inovación democrática en América Latina" (CIESAS, 2010, co-edited with Ernesto Isunza), and "El horizonte de la política - Brasil y la agenda contemporánea de investigación en el debate internacional" (CIESAS, 2011).

Monika Weronika Dowbor, Universidade do Vale do Rio dos Sinos

PhD in Political Science from the University of São Paulo (2012), Master in Sociology from USP (2006) and a degree in Social Sciences from the same university (1999). She was a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Metropolis Studies (2014-2015). She is currently a professor at the Graduate Program in Social Sciences at the University of Vale do Rio dos Sinos and a researcher at the Center for Democracy and Collective Action (NDAC) at the Brazilian Center for Analysis and Planning (CEBRAP). She works with the approach of historical neo-institutionalism, focusing on the processes of (de)institutionalization from the action of social movements at the interfaces with public policies. She researches the themes of health, participatory governance, participatory institutions and social accountability. Currently, she coordinates research on the participation of the homeless population in public policies in Porto Alegre. She is a supporter of the National Movement of the Population of Rua-RS, a signatory of the 2nd Convivialist Manifesto and a member of the Confraria da Paz. Currently in a postdoctoral internship at the University of Strasbourg, France, under the supervision of prof. Dr. Vincent Dubois.


06/03/2022 — Updated on 06/07/2022


How to Cite

Bezerra, C. de P., Almeida, D. R. de, Gurza Lavalle, A. ., & Dowbor, M. W. (2022). Deinstitutionalization and resilience of participatory councils in the Bolsonaro government. In SciELO Preprints. (Original work published 2022)


Human Sciences