Itineraries and forms of management in the awarding of commendations by São Paulo municipal councillors: an exercise in researching with
Abstract This article examines the awarding of commendations in the São Paulo municipal legislature. Seen at the interface between politicians and society, the granting of commendations is a highly ritualized practice, reflecting its importance in the management of social prestige and in political disputes over official history. However, the practice is little ritualized internally to the extent that one of its key stages, the collection of signatures, is performed by bureaucrats. This practice represents an organizational enactment of the agreement, an informal set of rules of conduct and institutions that operates in the legislature, producing predictability amid the competition over resources. In this arrangement, bureaucrats play a leading role in producing the boundaries between the dimensions of cooperation and political dispute, contributing to maintenance of the agreement. Inspired by the para-site methodology of George Marcus, which aims to afford the ethnographer better access to spaces of power, the study highlights what we call a method of researching with.