From Centralisation to Fragmentation and Back Again: Understanding the Role of Non-State Actors in Brazil’s Transformed Foreign Policy

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4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Since the 1990s, Brazil’s foreign policy-making, traditionally a highly centralised and hierarchical process, has become more fragmented, plural and horizontal. In this context, the role of non-state actors has been increasingly relevant. The impact and significance of these actors have been however a matter of debate. While there are authors that consider that non-state actors play only a secondary role in the policy-making process, there are others that assert that these actors work alongside governmental actors and directly influence policy choices. Drawing on the concept of network governance, the paper proposes a different view from the two recurrent approaches in the literature mentioned above. It argues that the recent steps to transform Brazil’s state governance from hierarchy to horizontal networks have indeed expanded the room for the direct participation of non-state actors in the policy process. However, state authorities fought to adjust this tendency, in order to retain control over the decision-making process, by putting in place formal and informal coordinating mechanisms led by the Ministry of Foreign Relations and the Presidency. This suggests Brazil’s foreign policy was made in the shadow of hierarchy. The paper demonstrates the argument using the case of Brazil’s foreign policy towards China.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1535-1553
Number of pages28
JournalThird World Quarterly
Volume40
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Keywords

  • Centralization
  • Fragmentation
  • Non-state actors
  • Brazil
  • Foreign policy

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