Mariana Borges Martins da Silva
My research examines how culture and historical legacies shape political behavior and campaign strategies in competitive developing democracies. In my dissertation, I investigated how traditional uses of the vote as a strategy for making claims of political deservedness in rural Brazil lead voters to side with likely winners, even when it meant supporting corrupt and unreliable candidates. My dissertation also examines how traditional understandings of the vote influence how candidates and political parties build their campaign strategies. By focusing on voters’ perspectives, my work also proposes a new theoretical framework to understand clientelism that is centered on voters’ actual preferences rather than top-down and abstract theories of clientelism.
In a related research agenda, I also investigate the causes of the resilience of corrupt electoral practices amid socioeconomic changes and amid societal disapproval in Brazil.
For my research, I mainly use ethnographic and historical methods, and I am also interested in examining how these methods can deepen political science’s understanding of political action and politics.
Research interests: political behavior, political communication, political campaigns, political parties in developing democracies, elections, qualitative methods, ethnography.