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Democracy, Development and the Puzzling Success of Brazil




"Democracy, Development and the Puzzling Success of Brazil" with Professor Peter Kingstone, Co-Director of the International Development Institute at King's College London

When: Wednesday 5 February 2014, 12-1pm

Where: Room D221 in the School of Social Science, City University London.

About the talk:

In recent years, Brazil has emerged as prominent player on the global scene -- one of the so-called 'BRIC' countries challenging the West's economic and political supremacy. The new prominence includes more symbolic aspects, such as hosting the 2016 Olympics, as well as more substantive roles such as leading developing countries' push back against the international financial system on critical questions like capital controls. At the same time, slowing growth and increasing social pressures (including the explosive protests of June 2013) have led others to argue that Brazil's new found global stature is exaggerated. While the Brazil hype was always exaggerated, the country's new found prominence does rest on a record of meaningful successes, politically and economically. Brazil's success is puzzling, however, because as late as the 1990s, the country was dismissed as "drunk," "feckless," "ungovernable," and "paralyzed." This paper addresses the seeming rapid transformation from basket case to leader. Brazil's puzzling success is interesting in its own right, but the apparent speed with which it transformed suggests significant shortcomings in the way we understand democracy, development, and the adaptability of human behavior.

About the speaker:

Peter Kingstone (Ph.D. University of California, Berkeley) is Professor and Co-Director of the International Development Institutes at King's College London. Prior to coming to King's, he was Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Connecticut. While there, he served as Director of the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies and the President of the New England Council of Latin American Studies. Before getting his PhD, he worked in the Canadian government as Parliamentary Advisor to the Honourable Jean Charest, Minister of State (Youth).

He is author of Crafting Coalitions for Reform: Business Preferences, Political Institutions and Neoliberal Reform in Brazil (Penn State Press, 1999) and The Political Economy of Latin America: Reflections on Neoliberalism and Development (Routledge, 2010), as well as co-editor (with Tim Power) of Democratic Brazil: Actors, Institutions and Processes (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2000) and Democratic Brazil Revisited (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2008) and (with Deborah Yashar) Handbook of Latin American Politics (Routledge, forthcoming). He has published various articles and book chapters on the subject of democratization and the politics of neoliberal economic reforms.

All are welcome. We look forward to welcoming you there.

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When and where

12.00pm - 1.00pmWednesday 5th February 2014

Rhind Building City, University of London St John Street London EC1R 0JD United Kingdom