The 'invasion' of manufactured civil society: government-nonprofit partnerships in a Brazilian state

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The growth of the nonprofit sector in Brazil has been conceptually similar to that of the Anglo-Saxon Third Way, where the government promotes the creation of partnerships with civil society. This process has been criticized for creating a manufactured civil society. This study will investigate whether the same pattern can be observed in the Brazilian context, particularly within the Management Shock Reform implemented by Minas Gerais, one of the principal Brazilian states. Management Shock is guided by a governmental partnership discourse that promotes contractual partnerships with both businesses and nonprofits. We opted for a bottom-up oriented research approach, aiming to comprehend the rationale for initiating and sustaining the partnerships revealed in the narratives that emerged from both government and nonprofit partners. Data were collected through semistructured interviews and content analysis of documents and the media. Results show the predominance of agency-type partnerships, highlighting the centrality of the government and its techno-bureaucratic role in fostering and maintaining Organizacao da Sociedade Civil de Interesse Publico or Civil Society Organization of Public Interest designs. Differing from the Anglo-Saxon context, we observed the invasion of market-driven values in nonprofits and, to some extent, in government narratives. Copyright (C) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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