Moving Away from Liberal Democracy


Wednesday, September 8, 2010, 4:10pm to 5:30pm


124 Mt. Auburn Street, Suite 200-North, Room 226, Cambridge, MA

Participation, Representation, & Political Experimentalism in Brazil
Thamy Pogrebinschi, State University of Rio de Janeiro 

About the Seminar
The national public policy conferences are arguably the largest and most innovative participatory experience currently being held in Brazil. Summoned by the Executive Branch, and organized at the national level along with civil society, such policy conferences have proven themselves successful enough to affect the policies drafted by the administration, and to influence the legislation enacted by the Congress. While redesigning the policy-making process, and changing the pattern of the state and civil society relationships, national policy conferences are perhaps the best example of Brazil’s pragmatic democracy: a strong commitment to political experimentalism, in which the false contradictions between representation and participation, and State and civil society, are dialectically superseded through a process of institutional redesign that moves the country away from liberal democracy.

This seminar will discuss Brazil’s national policy conferences as a case of constitutive political representation, that is, an interplay between participatory experiments and representative institutions that allow civil society to act within the state therefore promoting a cooperative policy making process.

About Thamy Pogrebinschi
Thamy Pogrebinschi is professor of political science at the Institute of Social and Political Studies at the State University of Rio de Janeiro (formerly IUPERJ). Her published books include Contemporary Political Theory: An Introduction (Elsevier, 2010), The Enigma of the Political: Marx Against Political Modernity (Civilização Brasileira, 2009), Pragmatism. Social and Political Theory (Relume Dumará, 2005), The Problem of Obedience in Thomas Hobbes (EDUSC, 2003), and Where is Democracy? (Editora UFMG, 2002). She has also co-edited the books Cooperative Democracy: Selected Political Writings of John Dewey (EDIPUCRS, 2008), and New Perspectives of Philosophy of Law (Lumen Juris, 2005). Pogrebinschi has been granted the two major book awards of Brazilian social sciences: the Vitor Nunes Leal Prize, granted by the Brazilian Political Science Association (ABCP) in 2010, and the National Association of Graduate Programs in Social Sciences (ANPOCS) Prize in 2002.

Democracy Seminar Series
The Democracy Seminar Series brings distinguished speakers to Harvard Kennedy School for the academic year to address critical challenges facing democratic governance.

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