Browse | News & Events | Ordering | UPP Blog | For Authors | For Instructors | Prizes | Rights & Permissions | About the Press | Support the Press | Contact Us
October 2002
256 pages  

6 x 9
Paper $27.95 Add to cart

View Cart
Check Out
Other Ways to order
Lost for Words?
Brazilian Liberationism in the 1990s
Ottmann, Goetz Frank
Based on in-depth interviews and participant observation, Lost for Words? investigates the rise and decline of progressive Catholic grassroots activism in its drive for social justice in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

View the Digital Edition
Goetz Frank Ottmann is a research fellow at the Centre of Latin American Studies at LaTrobe University in Melbourne.
"Advances our understanding of popular religions and grassroots politics by focusing on the complex, contested roles religious symbols, images, and metaphors play in struggles around the construction of collective identity and mobilization."—Manuel Vasquez, University of Florida

"Challenges the current mood of abject pessimism of most analyses of basismo in Brazil."—Stephen R. Niblo, Managing Editor, Journal of Iberian and Latin American Studies

“A balanced and realistic portrayal . . . Mandatory reading for anyone wishing to gauge the course of the Brazilian liberationist movement since the 1990s.”--Tarcisio Beal, Catholic Historical Review, July 2003

Complete Description Reviews
Pitt Latin American Series
Latin America/Politics

Lost for Words? explores the rise and decline of progressive Catholic grassroots activism and its drive for social justice and democratic change in four low-income neighborhoods in São Paulo, Brazil. Ottmann focuses on the obstacles faced by the poor who took seriously the claim that "the people" were to transform Brazilian society "from the bottom up." He follows their travails through periods of democratization, mass unemployment, and conservative backlash within the Church. Goetz Frank Ottmann moves beyond purely political analysis to record how residents and progressive Catholic activists were drawn into a struggle for a "juster" society, and how this movement began to unravel even before it reached its peak in the early 1980s. Based on in-depth interviews and participant observation, and drawing on theoretical insights from recent debates on social movements and the sociology of religion, he examines how, by the early 1990s, the liberationist movement had lost its following, lost its allies, failed to achieve its core goals, and seemed to die. Ottmann then shows how in recent years activists have worked to create a new and pragmatic form of religious activism, one that draws on a range of agendas, including Catholic feminism.


© 2018 University of Pittsburgh Press. All rights reserved.