In Pursuit of Development

Religion and democratic mobilization in Brazil – Amy Erica Smith

Episode Summary

Dan Banik and Amy Erica Smith discuss the importance of religion in Brazilian society, the causes of increased societal polarization, and how culture wars in Brazil are shaping the country’s democracy.

Episode Notes

In a splendid book titled– Religion and Brazilian Democracy: Mobilizing the People of God –  Amy Erica Smith examines the causes and consequences of Brazil’s culture wars – that as Brazilian democracy faces a crisis of legitimacy, political divisions among Catholic, evangelical, and nonreligious citizens have grown. How then have these culture wars affected Brazil’s democracy? And does religious politics either threaten or help to shore up a democracy now facing grave challenges to its legitimacy? Amy Erica argues that the answers to these questions lie not in political parties, but in clergy, that interacts with and sometimes leads congregants and politicians. 

Amy Erica Smith is an associate professor of political science, as well as a Liberal Arts and Sciences Dean’s Professor at Iowa State University. 

Her research examines how ordinary people understand and engage in politics. Although she studies democratic and authoritarian regimes globally, her primary expertise is in Latin America, and particularly Brazil.