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ABSTRACT

In this article, I examine changing meanings of participation for grassroots community leaders in Porto Alegre, Brazil, since the 2004 defeat of the Workers Party (PT) municipal government and a subsequent rise in the presence of both the private sector and NGOs in community politics. Through an ethnographic analysis of community politics in one municipal district, based on interviews I carried out in 2008, I argue that the changing relationship between state, private sector, and civil society has contributed to destabilization of the narrative of active citizenship hegemonic in earlier years, implanting a market-oriented, individualistic ethos in its place. [participation, citizenship, civil society, neoliberalism, NGOs, private sector, Brazil]