Document Type


Publication Date



In this article, we discuss some of the literature on the development of the Portuguese colonial legacy called "bacharelismo and seek to provide an answer to the question why clientelism and patronage are still such pervasive forces in Brazilian politics and indeed in broader society. By tracing back the ways how certain groups have conquered, maintained, and defended privilege vis-`a-vis popular sectors of Brazilian society and by following this process of defending inherited privilege all the way to contemporary times, we seek to support our main argument, which is that Brazilian society has never been sufficiently re-structured in order to break the social hierarchies that reach back to colonial times. As a result, inherited privilege has become part of Brazilian common sense and has escaped much scrutiny, because to most Brazilians, this extremely skewed distribution of status has achieved a high degree of normalcy.

Citation / Publisher Attribution

Revista de Direito Federal, AJUFE, v. 23, no. 88, p. 81-101