HRC Citizenship Lab Manuscript Workshop #3

Collective Candidacies in Brazil: Challenges and Pitfalls of a Gambiarra

Date & Time: Tuesday, Nov 29, 7:30 PM (BJT)
Zoom ID: 955 0753 0898
Speaker: Ricardo Mendonça
Ricardo Mendonça is an Associate professor of Political Science at the Federal University of Minas Gerais (Brazil). His work is on democratic theory, contentious politics and political communication.

Abstract: In this manuscript, we examine the democratic innovation of collective candidacies and mandates in Brazil. A collective candidacy can be defined as a group which is formed within a party list to run together for a single seat in parliament. These groups usually adopt participatory practices in their campaigns and, when elected, in their legislative activities as well. This innovation arose from a crisis of legitimacy of representative institutions in Brazil, which has deepened over the last decade. We read this phenomenon through the idea of a gambiarra (which can be translated as a kludge, workaround, or stopgap). This particular gambiarra reinvents electoral politics through improvisation amid institutional constraints, where there is a legal limbo of uncertainty and open possibilities. By making sense of this phenomenon as a gambiarra, we stress its precarious yet creative status. The manuscript presents the capacity of collective candidacies and mandates to renovate institutional politics, while pointing to some limitations and risks derived from these practices.

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