When decentralize is to concentrate power: state government role in the catarinense experience

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Eliane Salete Filippim
Fernando Luiz Abrucio


One of the principal points of the 1988 Brazilian Constitution was the emphasis placed on decentralization. However, there are different forms of implementing the decentralization process. The aim of this article is to describe and analyze the decentralization experience by way of the state government in Santa Catarina, beginning in 2003. As for the methodological procedures, the study is inserted in a qualitative approach of historical-institutional reconstruction, through a case study. For data collection multi-methods were used. Interviews were conducted with actors who were closely involved in the decentralization process. A questionnaire was forwarded to 36 Regional Development Secretariats [RDS] and 24 Development Forums. Documents were also collected through analysis and the observations of researchers at meetings, both of the RDSs and the Development Forums. The phenomenon studied in this work shows how decentralization, contrary to what was expected, can be used as a power concentration mechanism. The reason for this is that, on the one hand, the actions of the government of Santa Catarina are a way of drawing closer to the people, and on the other hand, a party policy strategy to consolidate the power of the current coalition that is dominant in the State.


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Filippim, E. S., & Abrucio, F. L. (1). When decentralize is to concentrate power: state government role in the catarinense experience. Journal of Contemporary Administration, 14(2), 212-228. https://doi.org/10.1590/S1415-65552010000200003