With the World Cup 2014 kicking off in Brazil in just a few days, how much do we know about culture and politics inside the host country? In this Reading List, we pull together a selection of book reviews covering the highs and lows of the life and history of Brazil. A guide to the best bookshops in Rio and Sao Paulo are also included, as well as podcasts focusing on urban transition in Rio and life in the city’s favelas.
Interested in how the arts are changing lives for young people in favelas?
Underground Sociabilities: Identity, Culture, and Resistance in Rio de Janeiro’s Favelas by Sandra Jovchelovitch and Jacqueline Priego-Hernandez
Dedicated to the favelas of Rio de Janeiro, to their people and their history, Underground Sociabilities showcases research into how Rio’s favelas are using cultural activities, identity, and the imagination in an attempt to regenerate public spheres and construct positive futures for young people at risk of drugs, violence and drug trafficking wars. Interspersed with quotes from the research interviews, beautiful photography, and pleasantly presented data and tables, this book has the potential to serve as real inspiration to those interested in social inclusion and the arts, writes Vinicius Mariano de Carvalho. Read the full review and download this book for free in English and Portuguese.
Interested in Brazil’s economic situation?
Brazil: Reversal of Fortune by Alfred P. Montero
Brazil: Reversal of Fortune is a valuable and highly relevant book which offers a thorough and holistic approach to several of the changes experienced by the country in the last few decades, writes César Jiménez-Martínez. Chapters cover democracy and the economy, welfare and class mobility, and Brazilian foreign policy. Recommended for economics and politics students looking for a clear introduction to the country. Read the full review.
Interested in histories of indigenous Amazonian societies?
Space and Society in Central Brazil: A Panará Ethnography by Elizabeth Ewart
Hailed once as ‘giants of the Amazon’, Panará people emerged onto a world stage in the early 1970s. What followed is a story of socio-demographic collapse, loss of territory, and subsequent recovery. Reduced to just 79 survivors in 1976, Panará people have gone on to recover and reclaim a part of their original lands in an extraordinary process of cultural and social revival. Space and Society in Central Brazil is an ethnographic account in which analytical approaches to social organisation are brought into dialogue with Panará social categories and values as told in their own terms. Andreza de Souza Santos finds that this book will appeal to students, scholars and anyone interested in the complex lives and histories of indigenous Amazonian societies. Read the full review.
Interested in politics and representation?
Political Power and Women’s Representation in Latin America by Leslie Schwindt Bayer
In Political Power and Women’s Representation in Latin America, Leslie Schwindt-Bayer examines the causes and consequences of women’s representation in Latin America. She does so by asking a series of politically relevant and theoretically challenging questions, including why the numbers of women in office have increased in some countries but vary across others; what the presence of women in office means for the way representatives legislate; and what consequences the election of women bears for representative democracy more generally. Schwindt-Bayer shows how the inclusion of women in politics has changed the issues brought into the political arena, writes Natalie Novick. Read the full review.
Interested in media systems in Brazil?
Media and Politics in Latin America: Globalization, Democracy and Identity by Carolina Matos
In this recent book, Carolina Matos considers how the media might enhance democracy and development in Latin America, and how public service broadcasting can play a vital part in the process. Mark Dinneen sees it as essential reading for all those studying the Latin American media, but it is also likely to be of interest to many with a general interest in media systems or in Latin American politics. Read the full review.
In the latest in our series on bookshops around the world that academics should visit, Cheryl Brumley, podcast producer for LSE Review of Books and our sister blogs, shares her favourite bookshops in Rio and São Paulo, Brazil. Away from the glitxy chaos of the beach, these bookshops are a wonderful haven. Read the full piece.
LSE Review of Books in Brazil: Rio in transition
This podcast features Ricky Burdett, Director of LSE Cities, and architectural adviser to the London 2012 Olympics; Washington Farjado, Adviser on Urban Affairs to the Mayor of Rio de Janeiro; Dame Tessa Jowell, MP and former UK Minister for the Olympics; Enrique Peñalosa, former Mayor of Bogota; Amanda Burden, Director of the New York City Department of Planning; and many others.
LSE Review of Books in Brazil: Favela Life: From Drug Gangs to Drum Beats
Sandra Jovchelovitch, Director of the Social and Cultural Psychology Programme at the LSE, and researcher Jacqueline Priego-Hernandez, speak about their new book: Underground Sociabilities: Identity, culture and resistance in Rio’s favelas.
Paul Heritage, Professor of Drama and Performance at Queen Mary College in London, also talks about art in the city’s periphery at a circus school in central Rio.
Other guests include: Silvia Ramos, Public Security expert in Rio and Celso Athayde, founder of CUFA (Central Unicas das Favelas) and more.
LSE Review of Books in Brazil: Politics, People, and Petroleum
In this episode, we head inland to the heart of the country’s political life: the capital of Brasília. Authors from the LSE including Francisco Panizza (Senior Lecturer in Latin American Politics), Anthony Hall (Professor of Social Policy), Guy Michaels (Associate Professor of Economics) and Francesco Casselli (Norman Sosnow Professor of Economics), talk to LSE Review of Books about left-of-centre politics and social development in the country. We also find out whether Brazil proves or disproves the “oil curse” theory.
Other guests: André Vitor Singer (Former Press Secretary for the Lula presidency), Armando Simões (Ministry of Social Development and Fight Against Hunger in Brasilia), Antonio Claret Campos Filho (Secretary of State of Social Assistance and Human Rights: Rio de Janeiro State), Marcos Mendes (Legislative Consultant, Brazilian Senate), Fernando Postali and Marislei Nishijima (Department of Economics, University of São Paulo).