Democratic Rituals and the Staging of Popular Participation in Participatory Budgeting Assemblies in Recife (Brazil)

Special Report: Dynamics of Participation in Latin America
By Camille Goirand

This paper presents research on assemblies held for the participatory elaboration of municipal budgets in Recife. It first presents the state of research on participatory mechanisms in Brazil and it discusses its main approaches. It then describes the political context in which this participatory offering has been conceived by the Workers’ Party in office in Recife (2001-2012). The last two parts show that the public space that emerges through assemblies is occupied by bodies and noise, stage-set as “popular,” ordered into hierarchies, and framed by public authorities. It ends by showing that various meanings are given to “participation” but that all agree with the idea that “participating” means “being here.”


  • participation
  • participatory budgeting
  • Brazil
  • Recife
  • popular classes
  • public space
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