Ciência & Saúde Coletiva
Print version ISSN 1413-8123
LABRA, Maria Eliana and FIGUEIREDO, Jorge St. Aubyn de. Associativism, participacion, civic culture and health councils in Brazil. Ciênc. saúde coletiva [online]. 2002, vol.7, n.3, pp. 537-547. ISSN 1413-8123. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1413-81232002000300011.
In Brazil, the political democratization and decentralization processes opened spaces for a number of experiences of popular participation in policy decision arenas. The health sector outstands in the country as well as in Latin America because of the existence of more than 5.500 health councils in which representatives of the civil society organizations share half of the seats with those of health authorities, professional and institutional providers of health care, and of health workers. The purpose of this article is to present the main results of research endured to design a sociopolitical profile of the users' representatives in the health councils. The contents focuses on some theoretical issues concerning democracy, associativism and civic culture; examines aspects of the Brazilian democratization process, the health system reform and the health councils and, analyses the research data. Among other conclusions, it is postulated that participation of representatives of civil society in the health councils fosters a virtuous circle characterized by the involvement of citizens in matters of common good, the accumulation of social capital, and the awakening of civic culture values, thus contributing for the strengthening of democracy.
Keywords : Democracy; Associativism; Participation; Civic culture; Health councils; Brazil.