Brazilian Review of Social Sciences special issue n.2 October 2002

Candomblé and time: concepts of time, knowing and authority, from Africa to Afro-BraziliAn religious

Reginaldo Prandi

Keywords: Time and religion; Time and religious hierarchy; Time and initiation; Time in Afro-Brazilian religions.

The article tries to show how conceptions of time, learning and knowledge, typical aspects of Candomblé, are a constituent part of African culture and people that instituted the orixás religion in Brazil. The idea of life and death, birth and reincarnation, as well as the cult to the ancestors and to the orixás, as conceived in African soil, was reproduced in Brazil in conformity with those conceptions. With the transformation of Candomblé in a religion not only restricted to afro-descendants and its propagation around the country, congregating followers inserted in the world of work and of controlled learning, based on the capitalist notion of time, the Western conceptions undermine the African concepts of time, especially those concerning knowledge, changing the initiation practices and the constitution of authority, hierarchy and the religious power in the terreiros (yards), provoking deep changes in the religion.

We are those who are alive: kinship and person among gê groups

Marcela Coelho de Souza

Keywords: Jê Indians; Kinship; Perspectivism; Ethinonymous.

In some Jê groups terms which are usually translated as "people", or "human being", frequently used as a form of native self-designation, are also the ones which refer specifically to "relatives". In others, distinct vocabularies are employed in both cases. Through an analysis of these terms as they are discussed in the literature, the article tries to show how the "construction of kinship" and the "construction of the person" are articulated in these societies. It suggests that, differently from what occurs in Western (American) kinship, in which the relative as a person is quite different from the distinctive features which define a person as a relative (Schneider), we are facing a cultural order that uses the same human identity criteria for the ones that are, by definition, relatives.

From Bossa Nova to Tropicália: restraint and excess in popular music

Santuza Cambraia Naves

Keywords: Brazilian popular music; Bossa nova; Tropicália; the Sixties; Modernism.

The article analyzes styles of Brazilian popular music that arose in the Sixties, reading them in terms of continuity and discontinuity vis-à-vis bossa nova. The core argument is that, although the experiments in harmony of the bossa-nova musicians influenced a number of songwriters of the following generation, the latter broke with the aesthetics of restraint pioneered by the former, which was in keeping with various other cultural forms of the period, such as concrete poetry and Oscar Niemeyer's architecture. Popular musicians of the later generation, from protest music to tropicália, returned to the traditional Modernist view of Brazil as an inexhaustible trove of cultural information, archaic and contemporary, regional and universal, and to the Modernist aesthetics of excess.

Political violence in Latin America

Glaúcio Ary Dillon Soares

Keywords: Violence; Political Violence; Latin America; Social Research; Social Conflits.

This article is a critical analysis of the comparative studies on political violence, especially those based on quantitative data, developed in dozens and hundreds of countries. The argument follows two lines; the first one, empirical, is aimed at demonstrating that data sources for the analysis of violence in Latin America are seriously impaired when they fail to consider Latin American sources, and this results in subenumeration and distortions. The second one has a conceptual character: the author believes that when those studies fail to consider cultural variations in the definition of political violence they also fail to consider several forms of violence not frequent in the developed countries but quite common in the Third World.

Federalism and social policies

Maria Hermínia Tavares de Almeidao

Keywords: Políticas sociais, Federalismo centralizado, Crise fiscal, Saúde, Educação, Habitação, Assistência social, Estado.

This article discusses trends of change in intergovernmental relations regarding health, education, housing and social welfare policies. It states that the transition from centralized federalism to some sort of cooperative federalism on one hand; and the fiscal crisis, on the other, broadly influence the ongoing process of redefinition of functions among governmental levels. It presents a typology of decentralization paths observed in the four policy areas mentioned and proposes to explain the differences by: 1) existence or absence of federal decentralization policies; 2) nature and power of pro-decentralization reform coalitions; and 3) previous structural features of each policy area.

A sensitive stateman: The notion of education and the role of literature in Minha formação, by Joaquim Nabuco

Italo Moriconi

Keywords: Joaquim Nabuco; Brazilian thinker; Abolitionism; Political autobiography; Formação.

The article focuses on Joaquim Nabuco's autobiography Minha formação (My education), published in 1900, in which Nabuco tells us about his formative years as a politician and statesman. In this book we find a powerful and exemplary narration of the process of formation, or Bildung, of a member of the Brazilian elite in the 19th century. The article pinpoints the meaningful articulation of the notion of formação (education, formation) in the way it is operated by Nabuco. It is stated that the notion of formação has a double meaning. On the one hand, it means the process of learning the canonical (or universal) cultural values from the dominant center of civilization, Europe and the USA. On the other hand, formação is the Bildungsroman of a system of affections molded by the memory of Black slavery. The role of the literature is very important as the cement that holds the two sides together.

Fine differences: From Simmel to Luhmann

Gabriel Cohn

Keywords: Social theories; Systemic theories; Georg Simmel; Classic theories; Contemporary theories.

Recent tendencies in social theory indicate a greater interest for analytical schemes which are different from those that focus on rational action based on "exchange paradigm". They also reject the conventional distinction between "individualism" and "holism". The article aims to analyse the contributions of two authors who are apparently incompatible with each other (Simmel e Luhmann) to this debate.

Conditions of the development of the Social Sciences in Brazil 1930-1964

Sergio Miceli

Keywords: Social Sciences in Brazil; Social Scientists; Universities Institutions; São Paulo University (USP); Political and Sociological School.

The article deals with structural factors which guided the institutional construction of the Brazilian social sciences, making use chiefly of the confrontation between the "paulista" and "carioca" cases. The dimensions and the outline of the universitarian organization, the patterns of governmental support, the relations between the participants of the new disciplines and the political activities, the characteristics of the social context from where the pioneer generations of professional social scientists were recruited, the main transformations of the internal markets of production, and the diffusion of the intelectual work constitute some of the explanatory variables of this moment in the history of the social scientists and the social sciences in the country.

Inequality and poverty in Brazil: portrait of an unacceptable stability

Ricardo Paes de Barros, Ricardo Henriques and Rosane Mendonça

Keywords: Inequality; Poverty; Distributive justice; Income distribution; Economic growth.

The article aims to describe the recent evolution of the level and the nature of poverty and inequality in Brazil, establishing causal relations between those dimensions. Its central diagnosis is that Brazil is not a poor country, in terms of resources, but it is an unfair and unequal country, with high level of poverty. The inequality in income distribution and in the opportunities of economic and social inclusion represent the main determinant of higher levels of poverty that worry Brazilian society. It also aims to demonstrate economic viability to fight against poverty and justify the significance of establishing strategies that doesn't discard economic growth, but that emphasize, mainly, the role of redistributive policies that may decrease inequality levels.