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Centre of Latin American Studies


Bolsa Família as a neoliberal policy? An ideological approach to neoliberalism

29 May 2024, 12:30, Room 204

Lenon Campos Maschette


Over the last decades, political, academic, and civil society groups and actors have intensely debated Bolsa Família’s origins, meanings, and results. This heated debate is usually grounded in different conceptions and ideas of the “good” society.

The main problem is that, as a political subject, the Bolsa Familia programme (PBF) is a multifaceted phenomenon. If, on the one hand, it was implemented by the most prominent left-wing government in Brazilian contemporary history during the period known as the “pink tide”—the rise of left and centre-left governments in Latin American countries from the beginning of the XXI century. On the other hand, its targeting and cash transfer approach can be understood as a neoliberal mechanism.

Using an ideological approach, however, the present seminar argues that the PBF should not be understood as a neoliberal policy. The PBF suited a distinct worldview with its own justifications, objectives and results, that responded to a specific context and dialogued with different political, ideological and intellectual traditions.