What’s New in Brazil’s New Social Movements?

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social science epistemology, Brazil, new social movements, NGOs, black organizing

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The concept of “new social movements,” characterized by a focus on identity, cannot readily be transferred to a Latin American context. Latin America never experienced the postmaterialist turn that led some to call certain European social movements “new.” In addition, as the case of black organizing in Brazil demonstrates, identity-based Latin American social movements are much older than the literature suggests. What was indeed a Latin American novelty of the 1980s was the massive emergence of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). In the case of Brazil, these organizations emerged in response to new financial opportunities provided by international donors and the coercive and paternalistic actions of states, a reality that the concept of new social movements is unable to capture. Both the long history of identity-based organizing and the emergence of NGOs can be explained by focusing on political opportunities and changing protest repertoires.

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Latin American Perspectives, v. 38, issue 1, p. 153-168