Feb 17

The Wynia Memorial Lecture of 2012: Democracy, Development and the Puzzling Success of Brazil

Peter Kingstone, Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Connecticut-Storrs

4:30 – 6:00 pm / Gould Library Athenaeum
Gary Wynia Memoiral Lecture 2012

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. But, Brazil's new found prominence doesn't; just stem from its place in foreign affairs. In fact, the country's emergence rests 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. Peter Kingstone (Ph.D. University of California, Berkeley) is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Connecticut. 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.

Sponsored by Latin American Studies. Contact: Alfred Montero, x4085