'Soft power', educational governance and political consensus in Brazil

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This article analyses the 'soft power' that the Federal Government of Brazil has gained by designing and implementing a very ambitious Plan for the Development of Education. It draws on fieldwork carried out in the country in 2009 and 2010 in order to conduct a discourse analysis of the strategy deployed by the key political agents. The results show to what extent the Federal Government has used some catchwords to underpin a general consensus. It has also convinced the international organisations and civil society organisations that the 'programme ontology' of the programme (e.g. hypotheses on the beneficial impacts of multi-dimensional intervention) is reliable enough to wait for a decade until having a whole evaluation. However, since these agents eventually recall varied kinds of political mobilisation, some contradictions and tensions are already apparent. In general, the analysis unveils a complex interplay of national and supranational politics of education. © 2012 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)191-212
Number of pages22
JournalInternational Studies in Sociology of Education
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2012


  • discourse analysis
  • education policy
  • globalisation
  • power


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