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ISSN: 2306-3483 (Online), 2071-8330 (Print)

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A reversed double movement in Brazil: the (controversial) evolution of the Partido dos Trabalhadores’ education policy since 1980

Vol. 8, No 2, 2015

João Victor Guedes-Neto

Leuphana Universität, Lüneburg Germany

A reversed double movement in Brazil:the (controversial) evolution of the Partido dos Trabalhadores’ education policy since 1980



ABSTRACT. Karl Polanyi identified a double movement which took place during the bourgeoisie hegemony when, instead of liberalism, it has made use of interventionism to perpetuate its domination over the working class. Several studies have tried to update his analysis by identifying the double movement nowadays. Nevertheless, the academia has not addressed the possibility of a reversed phenomenon where the working class would make use of liberalism to perpetuate itself in power. This paper aims at analyzingthe Brazilian case where the Partido dos Trabalhadores, a proxy for the working class, has implemented pro-market policies in higher education. Whereas the party has not passed through structural reforms such as the British and German working class parties, it has drastically changed its approach to policy-making and campaigning since its origin in 1980. The study concludes that a reversed double movement may occur when the working class is in charge of the government.


Received: April, 2015

1st Revision: May, 2015

Accepted: July, 2015

DOI: 10.14254/2071-


JEL Classification: Z13, A14

Keywords: Higher education policy; Karl Polanyi’s double movement; Partido dos Trabalhadores; Working class in Brazil; Content analysis.