Brian Wampler's central claim in Activating Democracy is that participatory institutions in Brazil, over time, provide “access points” through which citizens can engage via a variety of strategies to secure both political and social rights (p. 26). Beyond this activating of democracy, a participatory citizenship regime was also activated in Belo Horizonte during the 1990s and 2000s, producing for Brazil a relatively high score on the Human Development Index. Set within the trend of other excellent books published in the Kellogg Institute Series on Democracy and Development, Wampler's general interest is showing exactly how this activation took place, as opposed to simply showcasing yet again one of Brazil's policy innovations.

The author's research objective is to show that the state and society cannot be simplified, in either practice or scholarly investigation, into separate, mutually exclusive areas of action. He demonstrates the need...

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