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Insurgent Citizenship:
Disjunctions of Democracy and Modernity in Brazil
James Holston

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"Through a masterful blending of history and ethnography, James Holston offers his readers an innovative and compelling way to think about citizenship in Brazil and elsewhere. Insurgent Citizenship shows how, historically, the category of 'citizen' in Brazilian society has been subject to differential rights and subtle gradations that have forced many people who enjoy formal citizenship to resort to illegal arrangements to survive. Perhaps most important, Holston analyzes the struggles of insurgent movements in Brazil's urban 'peripheries' not only to claim inclusion but to reshape the very meaning of citizenship."--Barbara Weinstein, New York University

"James Holston has written a landmark book. In this multilayered study, Holston has written an explosive history of modern citizenship. The implications of his work provide fresh insights in Brazilian democracy and its limitations--and suggest ways in which, in fact, Brazil may not be so unique in a world of legalized privileges and legitimated inequalities. A monumental achievement of engaged scholarship."--Jeremy Adelman, author of Sovereignty and Revolution in the Iberian Atlantic

"This is a major book, and should provoke significant debate among Brazilianists and beyond. Holston offers a thoroughly researched, acutely argued, and well-written account of the emergence of a new understanding of citizenship in Brazil. He grounds his account of 'insurgent citizenship' in the study of neighborhood activism in two working-class neighborhoods on the periphery of São Paulo, Jardim das Camélias and Lar Nacional. His analysis of the former, in particular, is stunning."--Bryan McCann, Georgetown University

"This magnificent, richly detailed study of the emergence of an idea of the citizen as a rights-bearing subject, out of the morass of legal and social inequalities that have characterized Brazilian society since its inception, offers a provocative view of what democracy and rights mean for diminishing such inequalities. The developments in Brazil are similar to those taking place elsewhere in Latin America, and this book shows us in vivid detail why they are happening and what their implications might be."--Sally Engle Merry, New York University

"One of the best books I've ever read on Brazil or on citizenship."--Margaret Keck, Johns Hopkins University

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File created: 4/17/2014

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