Gustavo Matiuzzi De Souza will defend his doctoral thesis: "Local perceptions on the New agenda for cooperation and border development in the Brazilian-Uruguayan cross-border region", on Friday, April 27, 2018 at the PUCRS University of Porto Alegre (Brazil).
Joint PhD thesis: Thesis presented as requirement to obtain Doctoral Degree from the Social Sciences Graduate Program of the School of Humanities of the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul (PUCRS) and from the Doctoral Collegiate of the University of Liège (ULiège).
The jury is composed:
Prof. Emil A. Sobottka, co-advisor (PUCRS)
Prof. Sebastian Santander, co-advisor (University of Liège)
Prof. Rafael M. Madeira, president (PUCRS)
Prof. Pierre Verjans, president (University of Liège)
Dr. Maria I. Mallmann (Independent Scholar)
Prof. Aldomar Arnaldo Rückert (UFRGS)
Prof. Erica Simone Almeida Resende (IUPERJ)
This thesis identifies local actors’ perceptions on the operationalization of the New Agenda for Cooperation and Border Development (New Agenda) in the Brazilian-Uruguayan cross-border region (BUCBR), emphasizing the relationship between formal (state) and informal (non-state) actors and processes. After fifteen years, local actors’ engagement in New Agenda’s projects, and compliance with its agreements and frameworks were extremely low. If the New Agenda should be considered a response to local demands, why was/is there such low engagement and compliance of local actors with its projects and agreements? To answer this question, this thesis draws from International Relations theories a plural, reflectivist and constructivist approach that enables the employment of ‘perception’ as a relevant analytical variable. The use of interviews and the application of an electronic survey are the main primary sources. Bibliographical research and official statistics are applied for contextual data. Historical analysis is employed for comprehending the relationship between state and non-state actors in the social construction of the BUCBR. This thesis finds that compliance and engagement have little to do with a border culture of informality and illegality. They are related more to a New Agenda’s deficient institutionality and the perpetuation of ignorance toward the social reality of the BUCBR and the demands of local actors. The issues of engagement and compliance of local actors with the New Agenda is intimately linked with the unsatisfactory state offer of institutionality capable to turn the BUCBR into a legal and normative space in which the region could implement, autonomously, local development strategies for its cross-border populations. Such an institutionality would potentially change the way formal and informal actors relate. Moreover, the deeply rooted trans-local modus agendi of the region is likely to be either cause for resistance of any project that attempts to control or change it or the basis of novel cooperative regimes.
Key words: New Agenda; Brazilian-Uruguayan Cross-Border Region; Local Actors; Perceptions; Reflectivism and Constructivism.