Advanced search
Start date

Paradoxes of democratic police reform strategies in Brazil: what are the trade-offs involved in incremental measures?

Grant number: 23/02405-0
Support Opportunities:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): September 04, 2023
Effective date (End): December 20, 2023
Field of knowledge:Applied Social Sciences - Law
Principal Investigator:Marta Rodriguez de Assis Machado
Grantee:Julia Maia Goldani
Supervisor: Mariana Mota Prado
Host Institution: Escola de Direito de São Paulo (DIREITO GV). Fundação Getúlio Vargas (FGV). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Research place: University of Toronto (U of T), Canada  
Associated to the scholarship:21/05078-4 - Debating the military police: multiple case study on the socio-legal construction of projects for democractic reform, BP.DR


As part of a doctoral inquiry on the institutional obstacles to an effective democratization of Brazil's Military Polices, this research project aims to explore the paradoxes involved in incremental police reform strategies. It focuses on Brazil but connects the country's scenario with broader debates on institutional reform. While efforts to promote structural police reform have been unsuccessful since Brazil's return to democracy in 1988, various incremental measures have been implemented by State-level governments. Literature suggests that this course of action provides a way forward in contexts where resistance to institutional change hinders systemic reform (Prado & Trebilcock, 2018). However, in Brazil such measures have not managed to curb the Military Polices' violent practices (Machado, 2020). Therefore, this project questions: what are the trade-offs involved in incremental police reform strategies? A hypothesis is that these incremental reforms are feasible because their enactment through infra-legal and often vague regulations offer a margin for institutional conversion at the implementation level (Mahoney & Thelen, 2010), thus lowering the political cost for actors involved. The methodology combines a theoretical literature review and a qualitative analysis of the political process behind Rio de Janeiro's Pacifying Police Units, one of the doctoral research's case studies. Prof. Mariana Prado has extensively studied this empirical case, police reform and institutional reform processes in general. Additionally, UofT Faculty of Law is a leading center on topics of law and international development efforts, and has other experts in police reform in the Criminology Department. Thus, the research stay presents an opportunity for developing the proposed analyses. (AU)

News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship:
Articles published in other media outlets (0 total):
More itemsLess items

Please report errors in scientific publications list using this form.