Knowledge and Power of the Civil Society: an empirical study of Brazilian professionals working in the NGOs

Júnia Fátima do Carmo Guerra, Armindo dos Santos de Sousa Teodosio, Walter Mswaka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This study critically analyses the way Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) operate in Brazil and their contribution to the development of the Brazilian civil society. The notion of "power fields" and "habitus", proposed by Bourdieu (1989; 1996), provides the theoretical backdrop to our discussions. This focusses largely on the recursive connection between structure and agency which resonates with the work of Fligstein (2006). This study seeks to critically analyse the learning and social practice developed by professionals in NGOs in their daily activities. This study is based on qualitative research and the results indicated that the knowledge produced by Brazilian NGOs, through the recursive connection between the agents of the fields and the structures underpinning them, contributes to the expansion and transformation of the field in which they operate. This perspective shows that the knowledge generated by this NGOs give them a certain level of power and influence in the Brazilian civil society.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)64-85
Number of pages22
JournalCosmopolitan Civil Societies: An Interdisciplinary Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 23 Mar 2016


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