The Struggle to Be Seen: Social Movements and the Public Sphere in Brazil

Research paper by John A. Guidry

Indexed on: 01 Jun '03Published on: 01 Jun '03Published in: International Journal of Politics, Culture, and Society


This paper analyzes how community movement activity in three popular neighborhoods in Belém, Brazil, shaped the dynamics of contention in the public sphere. Popular social forces, elite actors, and the state mutually influence each other across three moments of public interaction: it clarifying popular discourse, it the struggle to be seen, and routine politics. The article reverses the usual picture in movement research, which emphasizes movements as organizational outcomes to be explained, and instead builds on a body of research that explores how movements can contribute to broader processes of political change.