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Núcleo de Estudos e Pesquisas Ambientais

Environmental Concerns in Contemporary Brazil: An Insight into Some Theoretical and Societal Backgrounds (1970s-1990s)

This article intends to unveil some of the main theoretical backgrounds and current tendencies of environmental sociology in Brazil. But we are mainly interested in providing a historical reconstruction of the societal internalization of environmental concerns in Brazil, on both state and civic levels, with an emphasis on the transformations that took place over the 1970?1990s period. We argue that environmental civil associations do not find either a legal idiom or public forums by means of which they could turn their demands and moral concerns into a binding juridical code. This is so because, on the one hand, their moral concerns, even when based on de-traditionalized and abstract principles, are not paralleled with an autonomous legal framework, strong enough to set limits to the functioning of both the political-administrative apparatus as well as to economic actors. As we contend, this helps to explain why the environmental legislation in Brazil is rhetorically manipulated on a regular basis?and, hence, set aside whenever it contradicts other priorities. On the other hand, environmental concerns have always met with difficulties to become a priority in the Brazilian polity. Ultimately, our main goal is to carry out a critical consideration of the theoretical links that are widely set in the field of sociological theory between environmental concerns and modernity.

Leila da Costa Ferreira & Sergio B. F. Tavolaro