1st Edition

Understanding Contemporary Brazil

By Jeff Garmany, Anthony W. Pereira Copyright 2019
    254 Pages 39 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    254 Pages 39 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Brazil has famously been called a country of contradictions. It is a place where narratives of "racial democracy" exist in the face of stark inequalities, and where the natural environment is celebrated as a point of national pride, but at the same time is exploited at alarming rates. To people on the outside looking in, these contradictions seem hard to explain.  Understanding Contemporary Brazil tackles these problems head-on, providing the perfect critical introduction to Brazil's ongoing social, political, economic, and cultural complexities. Key topics include:

    • National identity and political structure.

    • Economic development, environmental contexts, and social policy.

    • Urban issues and public security.

    • Debates over culture, race, gender, and spirituality.

    • Social inequality, protest, and social movements.

    • Foreign diplomacy and international engagement.

    By considering more broadly the historical, political economic, and socio-cultural roots of Brazil’s internal dynamics, this interdisciplinary book equips readers with the contextual understanding and critical insight necessary to explore this fascinating country. Written by renowned authors at one of the world's most important centers for the study of Brazil, Understanding Contemporary Brazil is ideal for university students and researchers, yet also accessible to any reader looking to learn more about one of the world's largest and most significant countries.

    1. Introduction  2. National Identity and Nation Building  3. Political Structure and Government  4. Economic Development and Social Policy  5. Race and Ethnicity in Brazil  6. Urban Brazil Today  7. Social Movements and Protest in Brazil  8. Environmental Contexts and Challenges 9. Culture and Spirituality  10. Foreign Policy and International Diplomacy  11. Soccer in Brazil


    Jeff Garmany is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Geography and the King’s Brazil Institute, King’s College London, UK.

    Anthony W. Pereira is Professor and Director of the King's Brazil Institute, King’s College London, UK.

    "Understanding Contemporary Brazil provides an accessible, informative and engaging overview of Brazil. Chapters on topics "Social Movements and Protest" and "Environmental Contexts and Challenges" draw readers into the complex and contested issues of Brazilian politics and culture, revealing both the dynamism and conflict of the nation. This book is an excellent introduction for those beginning to study Brazil, and a useful overview and synthesis for those seeking greater insight into how transformations in recent economics, politics and culture fit together."Professor Bryan McCann, Department of History and President of the Brazilian Studies Association (2016-2018), Georgetown University, USA

    "Brazil is not for beginners," as the musical luminary Tom Jobim once remarked, but one has to start somewhere. And there is no better primer than Understanding Contemporary Brazil. Both historically grounded and up-to-date, this study covers a dazzling array of issues—from Brazil’s notorious inequality and violence to its insurgent social movements; from its pay-to-play multiparty coalition system to recent anti-corruption campaigns; from the authoritarian inclinations of its governing elite to the democratizing triumphs of civil society; from its chronic domestic unrest to its principled reliability on the world stage. In short chapters packed with eye-opening data and marvellous insights, Garmany and Pereira have produced a multidisciplinary study that will enlighten and inform "beginner" as well as "advanced" students of Latin America’s largest nation." Dr Christopher Dunn, Associate Professor of Spanish and Portuguese and Africana Studies, Tulane University, USA

    "This is an excellent introduction, for researchers, teachers and students, to the economy, government and politics, society, culture, environment and international relations of contemporary Brazil by two engaged Brazilianists - an urban geographer and a political scientist - at the Brazil Institute, King's College London. The authors demonstrate a keen awareness of the influence of Brazil's unique history on contemporary Brazil and their analysis of contemporary issues is firmly based on the scholarly debates about Brazil among social scientists, not least in Brazil itself."Professor Emeritus Leslie Bethell, former Director of the Centre for Brazilian Studies at the University of Oxford, UK (1997-2007) and editor of the Cambridge History of Latin America (Cambridge University Press)

    "The Brazilian composer Tom Jobim, author of the famous Girl from Ipanema, once said that Brazil was not for beginners; a country where everything seemed to be upside down. In this book, political scientist Anthony Pereira and political geographer Jeff Garmany, both from King's College London, use their solid knowledge to help readers make sense of the country’s present-day social and political intricacies. From an always critical perspective, they offer background information on an encompassing array of issues from nation building to political structures, from national identity formation to race and ethnicity, from urbanization to patterns of social protest, in order to help readers approach Brazil’s many present challenges. A demanding and risky endeavour turned fully successful by the authors’ expertise. An incredibly readable and useful book and not only for beginners."Dr Maria Hermínia Tavares de Almeida, Professor at the Brazilian Center for Analysis and Planning (CEBRAP), Emeritus Professor in the Department of Political Science and former Director of the Institute of International Relations, University of São Paulo, Brazil

    "In Understanding Contemporary Brazil, Garmany and Pereira provide an engaging and nuanced analysis of Brazil today that examines history and institutions as well as how Brazilians live today."Professor Enrique Desmond Arias, Marxe Chair in Western Hemisphere Affairs, Baruch College, City University of New York, USA

    "Understanding Contemporary Brazil provides a comprehensive overview of Brazil for readers who want to acquaint themselves with the country’s complex history and society, and for scholars who are already familiar with Brazil. The book is both a reference work and provides an exhaustive introduction to recent developments in Brazil. Understanding Contemporary Brazil is, therefore, a must-read book, especially as the country continues to undergo significant social, cultural and political changes."Dr Leila Lehnen, Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Portuguese and Brazilian Studies, Brown University, USA