Looking at Changes and Continuities in the Perceptions of Brazilian Elites

Wednesday, 18 July 2018: 10:30
Oral Presentation
Elisa REIS, Sociology, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Poverty and inequality are distinctive but entangled notions that sociological approaches to culture contribute to iluminate. It is at the cultural level that poverty and inequality are related, and that notions of fairness and justice define what is or is not acceptable with regards to the collective distribution of social and economic goods. While political theory has provided important clues to understand the normative issues involved, it is to sociological analysis that we must look to grasp how social actors actually conceive of such notions both in cognitive and normative terms. How do they define poverty and relate it to inequality? How do they distinguish between “them” and” us”? What policy strategies to reduce poverty are perceived as legitimate? Having researched elite perceptions in Brazil in the 1990s and again in the 2010s, I discuss changes and continuities in the ways those at the top view poverty and inequality, and explore their possible implications for social policy.