Organic Intellectuals: Legitimizing Agribusiness Production in Brazil


The scope of this article is to analyze the implementation of forest policy and the role played by Blairo Borges Maggi, in the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso, during the period 2003-2010, namely the years coinciding, in the main, with both Lula’s term of office as President and with Maggi’s governorship of the Mato Grosso state. The approach and conditions of the policy were based on non-invasive technology – such as remote sensing imagery and a Geographic Information System (GIS) database regarding deforestation areas – and attempted to effectively control part of the deforestation in the State. An apparent contradiction was created, since the state governor is closely linked to the agribusiness sector. We draw on Gramsci’s concept of the organic intellectual in our analysis and explanation of this paradox in the Mato Grosso state, in order to understand the role played by Maggi in the process. Thus, we formulate the hypothesis that classifies the governor of the Mato Grosso state as not a revolutionary organic intellectual, as some might argue, but an organic intellectual whose reformist proposals are aimed at maintaining the hegemony of his particular group, which – in turn – sees the environmental theme as a threat to this hegemony.

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