Reframing Economic Development Strategy: An Analysis of Change in Contemporary Brazil’s Policy and Strategy Making (Reading between the lines: the oil sector in Brazil and the country‘s broader national economic development strategy)

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This article uses discourse analysis, from a critical standpoint, as a tool for exploring, through a case study, the reframing of economic development strategy in contemporary Brazil. It analyses the text “The President and the Pre-Salt Layer”, a formal speech delivered by former Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (2003-2010) in late 2009, in the occasion of announcement of the new regulatory framework for the oil sector in Brazil. Tackling beyond the oil sector itself, in such speech, Lula implies a reframing of the broader Brazilian economic development strategy, reshaping the role assigned to the state in the promotion of economic development. At the same time, he dismisses the prolonging of the neoliberal influence in Brazilian economic development policy and strategy making. The paper uses a selection of analytical methods, which were combined in a tailored manner as to serve the particular research interest at hand. Among the tools and steps employed, are featured: a thorough analysis of context, helping to situate the text, speaker, intended audience and social context in which it was immersed; an analysis of content of the text, with the examination of the semantic macrostructures providing an immersion into the core messages of the text, which is then followed by a brief exercise of words frequency. Then, following up on a well-known feature of Brazilian president Lula, who often makes usage of metaphors to convey some of his core messages, the paper looks at some of the main metaphors used in the speech, examining how they connect and provide support to the semantic macrostructures previously discussed. As a final step before the conclusion, the paper examines more microscopically two excerpts of the text that are highly symbolic of the general meaning underlying the text. The resulting original analysis highlights important features of what seems to be an emerging Brazilian discourse of emancipation, apparently grounded on a change of economic development paradigm, entailing a movement away from one paradigm – neoliberal – that is portrayed by the speaker of the text as a contemporary expression of coloniality, which tied Brazil down from its prospects of pursuing an effective path to development.
Original languagePortuguese
Title of host publication-
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes

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