1 Notes on Popular Culture For those of us who weathered the historical experience of populism, expressions like “popular culture”

and “culture of the people” provoke a certain distrust and vague sense of uneasiness. We must bear in mind however that that these reactions are born from the memory of the political context in which those expressions were abundantly employed. In all of its manifestations, paternalistic or forceful, populism is a policy of manipulating the masses who are attributed with a passivity, immaturity, disorganization and consequently, with a mixture of innocence and violence, which the need to educate and control them so that they may appear “correctly” onto the stage of history. The populist is obliged to recognize the reality of a crude culture deemed “popular” and value it both positively (as the basis of political and social practices) and negatively (as the bearer of those attributes that were imposed upon the masses). This ambiguity produces the image of an ideal popular culture (either in the sense of an idea to be realized or in the sense of a model to be followed) whose implementation will depend upon the existence of a vanguard committed to the project of enlightening the people. This vanguardist and unconsciously authoritarian form of enlightenment carries with it an instrumental idea of culture and the people, whose most refined expression appears in the 1962 manifesto of the Center of Popular Culture,1 published in the first issue of Arte em revista.2 In another essay, in which I was asked to address the debate concerning ‘the culture of the people and the authoritarianism of the elite,’ I initially sought to explore the meaning of the conjunction “and” that joins the two terms of this debate, asking whether it refers to a typological differentiation between ‘the people’ and ‘the elite’ or to an opposition between the dominant and the other, both of which would designate the culture of the people as non-authoritarian. My contact with empirical material gathered by the social sciences tended to negate this hypothesis however, revealing authoritarianism present in the cultural manifestations both of the dominant and the dominated. I argued that any interest in exploring the opposition, and even contradiction, between the two terms would require at least two approaches. Firstly, a historical and anthropological approach, which would avoid essentialisms by attempting to listen to how subjects themselves interpret their lives so as to determine whether popular practices and ideas

are in effect authoritarian. Secondly an approach that examined whether authoritarianism possessed only one single meaning for both dominant and dominated. I then proposed an approach that attempted to discern between popular manifestations that conform to dominant culture and those that resist or negate it. My intention was to suggest changing our perspective so that it would be possible to perceive as conservative something that, at first glance, seemed emanicipatory, and vice versa. Lastly, a third position that would propose politics as the privileged sphere in which to asses the opposition and even the contradiction between ‘the people’ and ‘the elite’, given that even the most diverse events (strikes, revolts, elections) allow us to perceive that the dominant class never fails to identify its enemy. This last observation helps to explain why the dominant classes are interested in conflating notions of the popular and the nation, and why they strive to put forward ‘popular fronts at moments of conflict.’ It also asks is to understand why the clear identification of a class enemy does not eliminate an idealized vision of the ‘good’ State. The hypothesis put forward in my previous essay (one that I still maintain) is that this involves not so much a desire to exert the power of the state, as a deferred and distant demand for the realization of justice. It is, I believe, in this demand - hope for justice that the nature of the difference between the culture of the people and the dominant ideology manifests itself most concretely. Popular Culture and Alienation When popular culture—not the culture of the exploited, but rather dominated culture—is spoken of, there is a tendency to represent it as usurped,4 annihilated by mass culture and the culture industry,5 infused with dominant values,6 intellectually impoverished by restrictions imposed by the elite,7 manipulated by a nationalistic, demagogic, and exploitive folkloreization.8 In short, it is seen as impotent in the face of domination and dragged along by the destructive force of alienation. However, if we look closely at the concept of alienation, we can see that it lacks the necessary explanatory force to reveal the impetus behind the differentiation and identification between popular culture and dominant ideology. In the first instance, the phenomenon of alienation seems to occur in the sphere of consciousness and, thus, in the mode by which subjects represent social relations as they appear



3 to them, for it is otherwise impossible for them to recognize themselves in the social objects produced by their own actions. One speaks here of a “false consciousness.” However, if we pass over the notion of false for that of an illusion that is necessary for the reproduction of a particular social order, the concept of alienation begins to gradually loose its immediately subjective connotation, to emerge as an objective determination of social life under the capitalist means of production, taking possession of both the dominant and the dominated—for even if its content and purpose are different in each case, its form is identical in both. For these subjects the movement of social relations generates the impossibility of attaining the universal by way of the particular, making them create an abstract universality that does not result from mediation upon the particular, but rather through dissimulation and against it. Society (and, therefore, social classes) finds itself inhibited from relating to itself, unless it rejects that which society itself does not cease to replace: the extreme particularization of its internal divisions. This movement is called alienation. In the economic sphere we need only recall the abstract universality of labor sustaining (and being sustained by) the absolute fragmentation of the labor process, in order to perceive alienation inscribed in the means of production, not only at its subjective surface, but also in its objective process. If the contemporary worker, as an individual worker, recognizes himself in the product at hand, it is paradoxically because he cannot recognize himself as the collective worker he really is; for not only does his class reality elude him, but moreover, so does the global significance of the productive process as valorization, as well as the partial significance of that process for the resolution and control of capitalism. The abstract universality of the labor process supplements the abstract reality of the system.9 Furthermore, we must not overlook that “…the productive capitalist process, while particularizing itself through the labor process, imposes upon itself a key objective: to participate in the process of valorization. For capital, all products assume the form of merchandise integrated into the movement of self-valorization (…) potentially, the object of labor, machines and the labor force present themselves as capital, as capital capable of self-valorization. Nothing is simpler, therefore, than taking the part for the whole, accepting the autonomy of each one of these figures, lending it, at each instance of the labor process, the basic feature of the capitalist production process in its totality. Capital loses its

4 social means so that its parts may acquire a represented natural means. Nature begins, then, to naturally generate income; machines fabricate profit, and labor produces wages. Thus, fetishes are formed.”10 The formal subordination of labor to capital (the “free” contract of buying and selling the labor force) prepares its real subordination. Now, “it is not the worker who employs the means of production, but rather the means of production that employ the worker. It is not real material labor that is produced by material work; it is material work that is conserved and which is added by means of the absorption of real labor, by virtue of the fact it is transformed into a value that is valued into capital.”11 No one would doubt that this entire process might be a universal hallucination, yet it is more difficult to accept that it may be maintained by a ‘deceived’ consciousness. Not being a state or form of consciousness, but rather a production process of an abstract universality, the privation of a concrete universality, alienation reveals the need for every social institution to search for its own universalization, to struggle against lapsing into the particular, which would rob from it the legitimacy to be equally valued by all. This is why, ever since the dawn of capitalism, the great problem confronted by the Roman Church was to risk being reduced to the particular (being an institution among others), which would diminish its power over man, now understood universally as citizens and only particularly as believers.12 In the same way, the bourgeois State can not stop presenting itself as universal, the foundation and limit of an imagined community capable of nullifying, thanks to the formalism of the law, the particularity that defines it, concealing class domination by the simple rejection of the form of the real existence of class, that is, of struggle. Beyond this, it is necessary to recognize that ‘statism’ is not an accident in the histories of capitalist societies, as liberals would like us to imagine, but the production-limit and continuum of an abstract universality in action. Finally, it is not by accident, but rather from necessity, that the initial movement of a class’ self-appearance has the form of the particular—to recognize oneself as other—and that it permanently run the risk of abstractly universalizing itself, for example, as the “real force of the nation.” Regarding ideology as the universalization of the particular, achieved via a corpus of norms and representations charged with fabricating social unity by concealing internal divisions, here too alienation is not only a result (chronologically subsequent), but also the driving force,

is comprised of the effort to universalize the particular point of view of a realm of knowledge. it is also the conscious consequence of two key factors. unity is given in a multiplicity and multiplication of activities. This process is not just a consequence of the theoretical referent adopted here. it is intended to sustain it. giving it the status of the foundation of all of the others and of the real itself. These observations are intended merely to urge caution when using the concept of alienation in discussing the condition of popular culture. the practice and experience of alienation is a source of self-preservation and legitimization. It may be rightly observed. which is of concern to its contents. for the dominated it is the source of historical paralysis. not simply because it would be responsible through the inversion of the real (ideology reducing itself to a phenomenon of unconscious consciousness). in any way. Caution does not imply. For the dominant class. with regards to dominant culture.5 condition. in the case of manual/productive labor. taken as condition and result of the radical separation between manual and intellectual labor. In the case of intellectual labor. and end of this process. we can see that the latter is just as fragmented as the former. On the contrary. It is so. an abandonment of the concept employed by the vanguard during the last century. because. once the identity of the exploiters and the exploited is understood. the universal abstract becomes an “adequate means to an end” . that this text has glided from the term “popular” to “class” with out making the process of elaboration that has permitted this transition explicit. and communication: through its intermediary. it is possible to pinpoint the place of difference between them. It is neither by chance nor by a subjective Machiavellian determination that the dominant class finds purchase in the ideas of administration.so that the moment that follows conversely attempts to overcome the practical and theoretical limit imposed upon every sphere of knowledge by attributing it with a universality. in order to avoid applying a concept that defines the very social totality to a single sphere of society. Finally. planning. However.or rationality. so that they can only relate to themselves or to the whole through fragmentation.called reductionism . but because it contains the foolish attempt to imaginarily suppress the fragmentation of real conflicts. This process . . imbuing it with the philosophical humanism of the old socialists. the privation of the universal initially tends toward a hypervalorization of the particular – known as specialization .

”17 A meeting place for construction workers. It’s all about kissing the boss’ ass.’ This evaluation of rural workers is representative of large sectors of Brazilian society. for us country folks it doesn’t. in the very least. Such arguments allowed.’ might also believe in the idea of a ‘complete strike. The second is. Arena’s party says it’s all about land redistribution. They vote for whoever you tell them to (a crew worker). in discussions of the “culture of poverty” imbued with “limited symbolic stock. Those guys that get things done.”16 “ ‘The workers don’t have any opinions. a precaution against the intellectual obsession of imposing upon the exploited an alienation that is their own. the boteco or neighborhood bar. of organized strikes.”14 to legitimize the right of the Spanish to enslave those who “due to their simple nature should be obliged to serve more refined (civilized) peoples. but I don’t believe any of that’ (a migrant farm worker) (…) ‘Rural folks like us don’t figure into that stuff about the election. Go on and vote. but they don’t really matter to us (…). odd-job men. but knew Aristotle very well. Juan Ginés de Sepúlveda. Attributing cultural poverty to the … inferior orders serves. the MDB (…) what do they say? That it’s all about the poor folks. for example. to evaluate the misery of intellectuals. the same person that might say ‘once a worker always a worker. unlike middle class bars and other places in which to . who “had never seen the indigenous Americans. You think that if we got together that the police wouldn’t beat us? Do you think that the workers would win? The police and the army – they’re tough. they could also abandoned in favor.”13 stemming from a “simple” life experience. otherwise they wouldn’t have an election’ (a migrant farm worker) (…) ‘In Brazil there are no more strikes. So. an alternative option for workers. but for them it probably does. I think the election probably matters. for instance. bullshit.’ ‘The right thing for poor folks to do is to vote for anybody’ (a migrant farm worker) (…) ‘It’s all gibberish.’ (A migrant farm worker) (…) If political immobility and appeals to an ideal government can be seen as possible strategies for confronting existing forces. It is even sanctioned by legislation that prohibits the illiterate from voting (…) ‘Elections are a big deal for them.6 The first intends to make it clear that we are not using popular as a synonym of national. witnessed. Even Arena kisses his ass.”15 that “will protect the natives against their own weakness. street vendors and minor public servants.’ and in resolving the hunger of striking workers by taking possessions from the owners. above all.

the author concludes that they are incapable of projects and plans. in such a way that their rigid daily routine is a substitute for their perception of time.”19 Simultaneously aware of his identity and value. whose façades have been painted bright colors. Interpreting how the men of the boteco relate to time. despite being held in high esteem—or maybe because of this. and whose carefully demarcated sidewalks and enclosed . There. the customer-proprietor relationship is not one of camaraderie. This is related to a similar prejudice towards those who consider the “subaltern” organization of space to be restricted. There. love.” The policeman.” is a world of its own. is virtually absent: the world of politics is felt to be inaccessible and the politician is despised for his corruption. for whom virility is an undisputed fact. but love deserves modesty. there. without acknowledging that it is a space whose coordinates are not identical to those of the bourgeois gestalt. it is one of antagonism and tension disguised as reciprocal complacency: the customer knows he has the owner in front of him. a constant theme of conversation in middle class bars. Machado da Silva’s excellent analysis. 18 7 There. There is an interference here of the point of view of the intellectual who does not ask whether or not time possesses the same meaning for these men than it did for Benjamin Franklin. When the BNH architect20 is shocked by the spatial chaos of the workers’ neighborhood that he so carefully planned. or of reflecting on the future. is treated as though he were sober: he participates in conversations and he is not excused if he offends someone. drunkenness is not a laughing matter because it is not the occasion for a “return of the repressed. but also of his exclusion from the ‘civilized’ world. to be macho is to be brave (to challenge society) and to be resistant (to not turn in a peer when caught by some force of ‘order’). in contrast to middle class bars. “Any activity that is not manual is not considered work. an obligatory topic in the middle class bars of the festive Left. is rarely discussed: “brawls” are recounted. suffers a “slip” in the last paragraph of his text. is not directly challenged or confronted: his actions are curtailed by those protecting the focus of his threats. politics. deemed necessary.“see and be seen. and confused. indiscriminant. and whose decorative gardens have been dismantled by the construction of vegetable plots. the man of the boteco knows about things. There. the drunk. For the men of the boteco. the newcomer is confronted with distrust: regulars know that they may be standing next to a policeman. The privileged subject of conversation in the boteco is work. associated with technical ability and physical strength. There.

Risoleta’s memory finds the maternal figure. she didn’t say a single word. She closed up her throat and she never said another word. We asked: Will you give me a corn cake. dried to the bone: she used to work the round pan. She rushed out to save her cornmeal. (…) My mom died. “The notion of ‘apathy’ or ‘depoliticization’. People see them all made up in those nice little packages. seems inadequate to me for describing the political attitudes of agrarian workers in Andalusia (and certainly the same could be said for all Spanish workers). mom? She gave us some of those big ones. recounts the death of her mother Theodora. by the fire. it is worthwhile highlighting intellectuals’ tendency to minimize the role of repression so that the idea of alienation obscures the existence of the exploited. a thunderstorm came.’ it does not occur to him to ask whether or not this destruction of planned space may also in turn be a rejection of it. “D. “My mom was toasting cornmeal. It also seems tendentious because it functions to conceal the importance of repression and fear (…). She went into the house and all of a sudden it started to rain. her life and her death. a lack of perception of time and space… If they were French madeleines instead of corn cakes would the “symbolic stock” of these people would still be considered “limited”? In concluding this section. The cornmeal didn’t get wet. Risoleta. through labor.”21 D. it is through work. Spreading out white cloths on the grass. And I ended up getting discouraged when a bibliographic . My mom went eight days without talking. the daughter of ex-slaves and a housekeeper for more than seventy years. girl. She spread out white cloths over the grass and started throwing the cornmeal over it so it could toast there. of the meal cloths and the bed sheets of the dying. Analyzing fear would require tackling questions of Social Psychology. moving the pan in the fire. as used by Juan Linz. When my mom ran out she didn’t have anybody to save the cornmeal that was in the sun. Risoleta meditates on the product of her mother’s chores being sold in packages to people who did not value the sacrifice she describes. saving the cornmeal outside. Needs lots of work. that D.8 yards have been ‘confused. As Ecléa Bosi points out. Cornmeal is tough to make. The daughter’s narrative blends together scenes of her work and death. Teodora went on working and dying. simple life experiences. giving corn cakes to children. but she caught a cold. but they don’t know how hard it is to make them (…).”22 Poor culture.

but you can say that they are at the same time satisfied and dissatisfied. “embarrassed atheists”). confessing their fear and attempting to overcome it. there is a profound nonconformity that is often difficult to perceive beneath the guise of fatalism. Thus. the consciousness of . creature and creator. It is. I think this is surprising. Feuerbach states that the God of religion is not a Godintellect (of interest to the philosopher and theologian. because it can disappear at any moment. the first is in communion with the universe and is pantheistic. given that the majority of the world’s poor are afraid of getting involved in politics (…).” intending to point out the essential determination of religion as visibility and spectacle. but rather a Godwill and heart.a theme explicitly developed by Feuerbach. Yet despite the apparent calm. or when an elder Hegel declares: “we are all Greeks. they see themselves as powerless to change a situation. from the point of view of reason. the here and the beyond. God is manifest as practical reality that demands action and creates tension between what we are and what we desire to be.24 This is why. On one hand. individuality and universality. they define the field of religion as fear and the irresolvable split between exterior and interior. erroneous to see ‘depoliticization’ as a given.”23 Popular Culture and Religion When a young Marx declares: “we are all Jews.9 search through political theory and literature on fear (in Spain and other countries) produced limited results. as the absolute self in the form of the ought.” affirming that religion is fear and acceptance of a transcendental power. many of them prefer to adopt a fatalistic attitude and show wariness toward militants that attempt to muster them from their inactivity. religion defines an irreparably divided existence: the division between the finite and the infinite. Projected as a perfect moral being. The extent of their action depends upon the repression and persistence of fear. merit and compensation. which is essentially anthropocentric. guilt and punishment.25 The fantastic projection of the human into the divine. therefore. The concept of ‘mobilization’ (or of ‘demobilization’) cannot capture the political attitudes of the proletariat (…) You cannot say that workers are satisfied or dissatisfied with a situation. religious consciousness appears as the exemplary form of alienation . the now and the future. Instead of taking on that lack of power. Unable to satisfy the religious soul.

Defined as spectacle for not being speculative. religion appears as a generic attitude before the real. This is the God of religion. or as alienation for not recognizing its humanity. Division and separation. distinct in degree and not in nature. by water (baptism) we belong to Nature. the nature of the religious institution’s authority (bureaucratic or charismatic. lower levels). the advent of the unity of man with himself. Anthropologists enhance these analyses by underscoring the essentially cultural dimension of popular religion as the preservation of ethical. ethnic. we are humanity. simultaneously. but always tending toward the formation of sects in opposition to the dominant religion. the contents of religion (sacred vision of the oscillating world. it appears possible to distinguish qualitatively between the two modalities of religion. satisfied with the given option. by bread and wine – the fruits of labor. between rigid ethics and a more fluid magicaldevotional attitude). . projecting itself into the beyond.10 the pain of sinning can only be noticed by a personified other. the function of religiosity (to conserve a tradition or respond to the loss caused by social changes).26 From the perspective of the social sciences. projection of the self onto a vast Other. is. the end of religion. as the logic of illusion for not reaching the root of effective history. Human life has within itself a sacred meaning whose infinite essence does not need to forget itself. Grosso modo. and cosmological values of minority and oppressed groups. for the social sciences. we can summarize (with some generalization) the following features of popular religiosity. popular religion results from the combination of four variables: the social composition of believers (the poor. In the particular case of Brazil. Alienation ends when humanism begins. made of love and mercy. bridging the gap between his law and our heart. upon our recognition that. oppressed. tension and struggle define the essence of religious life and human alienation whose end. which is institutionalized in the form of churches). so that it functions as a channel for the expression of a group identity and of practices considered to be deviant (and therefore repudiated) by all of society. however. becoming impossible to establish a qualitative difference between the religion of the dominant and popular religion: both appear to be mere variants of the same. aesthetic.

or does the ‘geography’ of their organization obey hierarchical criteria? These questions become relevant in so far as the identification produced by the notion of laity can suggest that (past) popular Catholicism was an expression of rural community life. freemen (herders and settlers). in so far as rural Catholicism. beyond censuring previous practices. Under these circumstances. The first operates among the poor.11 1) Popular religion. chapels. and attend the same festivals. the former emphasizing evangelization. devotions. because the idea of the laity serves to identify all believers (in the past) and to minimize clerical authority (in the present). this description however creates a problem: the emphasis given to the authoritarian character of the Tridentine Church and to those opposed to Vatican II. not only in terms of social composition. festivals). pilgrimages. which privileged sacerdotal authority.”30. Yet this perhaps overlooks the fact that these communities are spanned by two forms of institutionalized violence. the difference between popular and official religion manifests itself as the opposition between laymen and the clergy. in other words. deprived and isolated. the latter privileging a prophetic dimension. processions. worship the same saints. However. by abolishing them or by placing them under the supervising tutelage of the official clergy. imposed authoritatively. The . which has roots in the institution of the Padroado27 and Christendom. minor employees and servants? Is their distribution in processions random. tenant farmers. do land barons. With regards to popular rural Catholicism for instance. amongst whom prevails “the capacity to preserve their own person against any violation appears as the only way of being.28 Romanization confers supremacy to the sacraments and to religious institutions (catechism). for instance. colonels. and between festivities and sacraments. as blacks. compared to the spontaneity of the popular does not explain the way in which the former resolves the issue of class difference. between a spontaneous religiosity and a vertical religion. This very opposition will reappear after Vatican II and we can interpret. is characterized by the defining presence of the laity as champions of religious life (brotherhoods. into conflict with the imposition of Romanization or Tridentine Catholicism. but also in theological terms. the difference between the ‘Cursilhos de cristandade’ or courses of Christianity and the base communities29 as a new expression of the previous conflict. so much so that their relationships are marked by reciprocal challenge and test of bravery. prefects and merchants belong to the same brotherhoods.

however. conscious of the discrepancy between the egalitarian ideas of religion and society’s injustices.32 Similarly the contemporary courses of Christianity. tends to legitimize the status quo by means of a sacred vision of the world that supports the dominant order. popular religion. but of contesting social injustice. The opposition between internalized and popular religion. it establishes strict boundaries between the sacred and the profane. 2) Popular religion is characterized by a “limited level of consciousness with regards to the values that justify it. it is not coincidental that the dominant class adhere to Tridentine religion: it reinforces the idea of favor (we can recall here the introduction of a communion on the first Friday of every month in order to promise salvation for those who may happen to die in a state of mortal sin). as conservative. defined as traditional and. violence manifesting itself in the concealment of the inequality inherent in the bonds of personal dependence. producing the same separation accomplished by politics in religion. social participation. evident amongst the poor and the dominant.”33 in opposition to an internalized religion in which the believer participates in a conscientious and deliberate manner. While the past idea of the laity does not explain the extent of the “popular” in religion. promote Bible reading. The fact that the base communities have a prophetic dimension (not an evangelical one as in the courses) and that they defend social participation not in terms of accommodating the existing order (as in the courses). neither does it stop them from interpreting social justice as a form of redistribution of wealth through a more ‘just’ capitalism. redefining religious norms and values that are more in harmony with modern society (meaning capitalist) and which stimulate the active participation of believers. therefore. for when they overcome that boundary they will suffer internal repression. and a spirit of community through an encounter with Christ. communal confession. On the other hand.31 So. There is a modernizing tone in this second modality resulting from the use of scientific advances (particularly in the human sciences and medicine). .12 second. in terms of traditional and modern. does free them of the stigma of a ‘foreign’ conscience. expresses itself in a number of institutions whose synthesis and meaning centers on relationships of favor. a religion of the masses. explains the initial conversion of Catholics (urban middle class) to historical Protestantism. Neither does the idea of the base community in the present allow us to determine the extent of the “social” in Catholic religious life.

for example. the way in which Catholicism is internalized and modernized and that Protestantism continues to be modern. which defines itself as a ‘scientific’ vision of Christianity? By stating that Kardec should read Comte and that positivism is not modern? Additionally. and who cannot tolerate the idea of their misery being rational. in the redefinition of gender and familial roles ‘explained’ by the sciences (or.a mass religion. illness and unemployment. the prostituted daughter . Yet for the poor who do not benefit from scientific accomplishments (medicine in particular). the return home for unfaithful husbands. seen. emphasizes the disenchantment of the world and the admission of its rationality. obscures religion’s determining function in capitalist society. For instance. by the demands of the labor market). wives.13 whose modern ethic responds to the individual and democratizing anxieties of men immersed definitively in capitalist society. It would be advisable to proceed carefully with the procession pedestal for the saint is made of clay. This approach can be quite problematic due to its extremely functionalist character. 3) Adherence to urban (mass) popular religion is an attempt by the oppressed to triumph over a world seen as hostile and oppressive. while the members of the latter should read Buber and Marx. Migration and isolation. it compensates misery for a system of ‘graces:’ a cure. the ‘modernity’ of Protestantism and of new Catholicism is presented without relating it to the processes of social domination or to church’s maintenance of power. Spiritism. drive them from a traditional popular religion toward a different one . a job. the search for religions that respond to their vital concerns becomes a pressing need. It also explains the conversion of poor Catholics to mass urban religions (Pentecostalism. serves to highlight the extent of the manipulative character of modern religiosity.’ which appears to be intrinsically good. which substitutes the pulpit for the television. Umbanda. in other words. Moreover. ‘Modernity. a feeling of community. Seicho-no-vê). Bourdieu and Vasquez? How can we classify Kardec’s Spiritism. Religion provides direction in life. the value attributed to mass communication techniques are also emphasized as a feature of modernity. poverty and lack of power. because. In this case Billy Graham. knowledge about the world. a modern. the delinquent son. modernity is an ambiguous term: how can we identify the modernity of the courses of Christianity or the base communities? By stating that members of the former should read the disciples of Parsons and Galbraith.

we can observe an aspect that has been rarely underscored because of the emphasis given to the idea of alienation. it is also a perfect awareness of the present impotence that causes one to seek a miraculous cure . it promises social mobility as a recompense for moral rectitude. Those familiar with the situation of Brazil’s healthcare (the price of consultations. must admit that this cannot only be attributable to alienation. In his piercing pages on alcoholism and prostitution among workers Marx does not speak of alienated people: they speak of degraded people. but a different kind of order as a consequence of the definition of good and evil and of the time of reckoning (now in Umbanda. For some (urban. but because under the present circumstances one knows there is no other alternative. From the moment that authority is recognized there is a hierarchy and.’ But if we examine requests made by the poor (from any of the sects). lower middle class).’ religions depend on a bearer to ‘transport them’ and. medical insurance. the “regeneration” of a wayward family member and for a different life.to not do so is certain death. Some social scientists set Umbanda and Macumba apart from other popular sects and from the devotional Catholicism of saint worship. Transgression if there is such a thing is also organized. in the ever after.34 The social composition and the difference between order/transgression are inferred from the nature of the solicited ‘graces and commissioned ‘deeds. therefore. consequently. Thinking about ‘good’ and ‘evil.14 and the end of alcoholism. a job. high turnover and unemployment benefits. tomorrow in Pentecostalism and Catholicism. it is also an absolute awareness of the cause and current impotence that forces people to seek their daily bread in exchange for lilies that are no longer of the valley. It also provides a feeling of spiritual superiority compensating for real inferiority. For others (the poor) it reinforces the fatalist vision of existence. It would also be interesting to ask whether the distinction between the religions of transgression and religions of order is applicable? Perhaps there is an order in all of them. So. whose prize shall come be obtained day. Those familiar with the situation of underemployment. Petitions are not made because one ‘chooses’ the religious way. upon an authority invested in that purpose. in the next incarnation in Spiritism). for example when bichas are favored and valued in the city of Belém’s terreiros35. hospital beds. medical plans) must admit that this is not attributable to alienation alone. an order.the . medication. unemployment. considering the former as religions of transgression and the latter religions of order. Petitions for a cure.

for one minute. in opposition to official religions that are institutionalized as churches. denying them their rebellious potential. when creating a space that legitimates the ‘deviant. the values of the established order. is taken as an inferior form of the “true” religion that is professed by the cultivated and dominant classes. the term sect serves to describe the minority character of its followers. economic. forget that the miracle is a possibility of another reality within the interior of an existing reality. The study of popular and mass religions should take into consideration three contradictory aspects. Some social scientists and historians tend to value the sectarian character of popular religions for their perceived formidable non-conformist potential—one that tends to “turn the world upside down” to use Hill’s expression. receiving the spirit of light for the Spiritists. male venting of feminine impulses for the Umbandistas) organized around and subjected to authority. in such a way that any change can only be conceived of as a miracle .’ Perhaps for this reason it may be essential for ecclesiastic leaders to affirm the passivity and pacifism of the people. Their concept of Christendom. an effective instrument for suppressing the desire for change may be the transformation of . however. 4) Popular religions are organized as sects. or. by means of 36 15 Yet segregation. the more common use of the term serves to underscore the segregated character of the religious community.we should not.‘deviancy’ becomes a source of power. whether in ethical terms (Pentecostalism. If.37 Whether assuming a messianic or prophetic form.’ the terreiro justifies. the magical powers of its leaders (Umbanda. The appeals to a transcendental power as the result of a clear consciousness of a present reality. its latent or manifest fanaticism. and political segregation of its members into a spiritual choice. Finally. for the same reason. a collection of transgressions (not using mainstream attire in the case of Pentecostals. Perhaps too. Spiritism).spaces in which Umbandist rites are performed . the miraculous power of its saints (devotional Catholicism). The sect tends to become sectarian through the transfiguration of the social. at times. Spiritism). The vision of this reality as final. Macumba. in which individuals feel impotent. Devotional Catholicism does not exactly appear to correspond to the notion of a sect. owing to religion’s contact with the absolute and the transformation that it demands for itself of making ‘the sea become the backlands and the backlands become the sea. the social contestation of the religious order is radical. demanding that man move exclusively within a delimited space.

the defining gesture of popular religions.religion realizes itself as the coming of an evil when good is hoped for. the miracle . in fact. the miracle is the true profanation of purified or internalized religions. Expressing the contradictory play of two passions . while reaffirming the omnipotence of the divinity to which it appeals (and which would not have the least interest if it were not capable of altering its ancient decisions). is only tolerated by them. manifests a strictly personal relationship between the supreme power and the suppliant . providence.16 popular religion into mass religion.”40 Contrary to intellectual interpretations that see religion as the effect of the ignorance of the absolute’s true nature. yet hoped for.the only moment in which there is certainty that the suppressed cry has escaped and been heard. one of stunning simplicities for the religious soul—is. God is reason. it is because this society. a critique of religion into a critique of the law. separation and reconciliation of the finite and the infinite conjuring the fear of death. It is here that the expression ‘opiate of the masses’ becomes a truism. It is the lament of the oppressed creature. future. Spinoza41 considers religiosity to be the originating imaginary form of relating to power. expression and protest against real misery. In the former. or in an inaccessible. while demarcating its rigid limits. moirai. at the same time. de jure. Thus. this State is an inverted world.38 responds to the terror of desegregation. inacceptable for theologies and. religion opens up horizons in the world. the critique of paradise is transformed into a critique of the world.”39 Emancipation from religious consolation is the task of history. karma. and as the hope for good when . religion transforms the everyday into an ought whose cause is found in a distant. a critique of theology into a critique of politics. for if “religion is the inverted vision of the world. soul of a soulless condition (…). The miracle. Thanks to popular religion. The cosmic order of space and time eliminating chance. predestination) for what happens in the here and now. Thus. religion. past. more remote. the first step in the secularization of the real. critique of illusions. Extending time (calling itself eternity) and constructing space in recognizable coordinates (calling them sacralization). in the latter. God is will. for it breaks with the predetermined order of the world through an imaginary effort. the heart of a world without a heart. popular version of logic” in the manner of the young Marx. Elaborating a transcendent justification (destiny. “The misery of religion is.fear and hope . “universal compendium. co-opting its leaders for the services of the dominant class.

simultaneously felt as implacable (just) and merciful (good) . If religion is. If it were confused with the living. Pompous. and the necessity of finding a visible substitute for the challenged certainty of the everyday. yet that is furthermore not confused with the world that is to be organized. before. To fear is to hope. liturgy commemorates the separation between the divine and the human and the promise of its momentary reconciliation . demanding the recourse to an organizing power that not only creates temporal continuity and spatial familiarity. without which human existence would remain inexplicable) and the myths of return (always reconciling. Fear and hope are effects triggered by the perception of time as fragmented and. it would only be an entity among other entities. fixing space into a controllable topology.it prepares the scene so that obedience and resignation may infiltrate into all of existence’s manifestations in which power will be represented in the same way. the signs and the miracles.17 evil is feared. Thus. Imaginary response to the . return it to sight. as Spinoza affirms. the sovereign power’s omniscience and omnipotence result from its transcendence.the religious soul having a secret power placed outside of its own reach.it reaffirms the myths of origin (always of transgression and fall. through whose mediation religions distinguish themselves without losing their originating identity. but rather intrinsic exigencies of religiosity. that makes liturgy the core of religiosity. impregnated with the uncertainty of the world and unable to govern it. but because . the demand that the supreme being be separated from the world is not only a fantastic projection of man onto an emptiness in the here and after: it is the figuration of the very essence of power conceived as a potential that can only act if it is outside. the symbols of an absent presence are not expendable. therefore. sober. it is not because it presupposes infinite resignation. Despite this. with out which worship would be meaningless). the privileged instrument for political domination. and above the chaos that it should organize. it would not have power over them. power is only conserved as an object of belief and adoration if it does not cease to show itself: the enchantment of the world. To hope is to fear. the ritualization of life. simultaneously. delirious or exuberant. Fear and hope engender transcendence at the same time that faith requires the restitution of divine power in the world. as the source of pure chance. fixing them in predictable regularities. In effect. borne of human lack. A complex system of signs. The necessity of conjuring the risks of the uncertain. Religion needs to place power beyond the visible and.

whether charismatically or bureaucratically. and political elites there is established a type of relationship. in the here and now. the failings of the past and the remissions yet to come. it marks the emergence of authority as distant and near. and of the exploiters. because they know the price of defeat. and not simply because it crystallizes that which religion desires (the establishment of the real).e. And this difference is greater than anything that our vain philosophy may imagine. so too does the consecration of the Nagô priest “transform the human being into a truly living altar in which the presence of the Orixá may be invoked. opposed to believers and the dominated .either as a sect or a church. blind and just. progressive or reactionary. there are in both of these cases the same contradictory effects. Thus. far from being the loss of religious interiority to an exteriority.”42 How can the “affinity” between the religious visions of authority and the profane perception of State power (modern or otherwise) be denied? How can it also be denied that the search for intermediaries to diminish an invisible distance reopens a new span . silent and merciful. it is required that the invisible manifest itself.reproducing in the visible the same separation. that is found to be on the side of the exploited. It is exactly for this reason. because they know what they face losing? The politicization of religion and political religiosity does not possess the same meaning: in the former.e. as anointment and crowning of the medieval king transfigured his profane body into the political-religious body. that the phenomenon of institutionalization . from the moment in which the receptacle is docile. the indispensible corollary of religious life. such that among the cult officiators. the perception of this distance vis-àvis God and the State as unawareness of the nature of power (or its origin) and as the effective comprehension of the lack of this power? Finally. dissipating graces.” i.that makes it impossible to distinguish between religious contemplation of power and the establishment of political authority?43 How can it be denied that. ready to answer the call. i. either dead and repressive or living and defiant .reveals itself as liturgy. in a single word. of consequence and conflict. of separate and invisible power. how can it be denied that it is the fear of time and “disorder. the fear of history. . traditional or modern. that the visible conceal itself. from the moment it is made according to its own orders. directors of churches and sects. In the latter. but because it realizes that which religion seeks: the figuration.18 adversities of the present and the uncertainties of the future. for the oppressed.

determine their lives and organize the real. but Reason conserves all of the features of a concealed theology: a . leisure and the State. so that we be less anachronistic. or the modernizing and prophetic line of Vatican II.’ the bureaucratic verticality of the Tridentine Church. the strictly impersonalized universe of good and evil of Protestantism.” and are more people than the people. education. in “consciousness raising. the “administration of things. perhaps. constituted by those that “choose to be for the people. in its popular variants. religions sanction the dominant version of submission to the hidden plans of a separate power.” that can engender a vanguardist and enlightening authoritarianism to justify the existence of elite leaders (whether with. should agree. a disenchanted world that becomes re-enchanted not only by the magic of mass communication (in order to forge a transparent community of broadcasters/receivers of authorless messages). matters little). social conflicts are represented as the result of the action of forces external to society. It is not only confidence in the “progress of light. the belief in the very rationality of the real that can legitimate the reigning order. the conservatism of the Spiritist ‘evolution.19 Whether as the reactionary and rationalized version of Pentecostalism. From this perspective. The bourgeois world is lay and profane. strange polarizations between good and evil that fall upon man. However. even more terrifying. nothing keeps us from perceiving the appearance of the diffuse and pervasive belief in a reason inscribed within things themselves.” or. and requires a cultural front. above all. as the speaker is the voice of reason. justifying the supposition that the “people as phenomenon”44 is not capable of following the “correct” path on its own. by. creating opportunities for the staging of “necessary underdevelopment” or for reformism (whether with good or bad intentions. without fear of being taken for an obscurantist. It is. for the West and the East. In all of them. we are tempted to consider the secularization of knowledge and the disenchantment of the world as the first indispensible step in denouncing the powerful of the earth and dealienating the exploited. the militarized cosmos of Umbanda. but also by the magic of a society intelligible from end to end. Taking into account what became. anyone with good sense (equally distributed among men and not to be confused with common sense). health. or against the people matters little). also. that the belief in the very rationality of the real can be a sedative just as harmful as popular religion and.” the organizational models of industry. The gods have exiled themselves from this disenchanted world. for.

20 transcendental and separated knowledge. . reduced to the condition of manipulable socio-political objects (the good souls and the unhappy consciences say. ‘mobilizeable’). euphemistically. rationality is the new divine providence. Perhaps the heretical hour has arrived: science is the opium of the people. exterior and previous to social subjects.

widely shared by the left. many saw the end of the liberal illusion. to avoid the traps that have been prepared for them. the distributor and the consumer. is refuse to remain there. Eduardo Portela Minister of Education and Culture They have been given a new place in society. cultural politics is an action that is linked on three levels: the producer. the formation of new audiences. you flatter the distributor. Contemporary channels will have to reproduce the models of big supermarkets. Claude Lefort Analyzing the 1968 student movements in Europe. along with strategies that led to transformations in the social division of labor as well as methods of labor (which led to an increase in technical-administrative jobs). And.. the consumer is.. there is nothing better than to begin by examining the new place they have been given.45 “democratized” the European university. .21 Winds of Progress: The Administered University Considering the scope of a modern society. the State must revise and strengthen the means for distributing cultural products.. This “democratization” triggered a constellation of contradictions that had been implicit in the system but that came to the surface in 1968. which began to open its doors to a growing number of students who had previously completed their education at high school.. What they can specifically do however. of education as an equal right for all and of meritocratic selection based on individual skills and talents... making the cultural object increasingly accessible.. above all. For me. Economic strategies (which led to the lengthening of educational courses in order to keep a large part of the workforce out of the market thereby stabilizing salaries and jobs). but in spite of this intellectuals are unable to carry out a new function..

the solution was to exploit higher education’s lack of functionality. the solution was to develop the absence of productivity in higher education by substituting the idea of a “useful culture” for a “rebellious” culture. the university was exposed as being incapable of producing a “useful culture” (since in reality it provided neither work nor prestige) and of functionality. universities lost their selective function and became detached from their eternal corollary – that of social promotion. Despite this however. However. on the contrary. Many however. the explosion of the student movement in 1968 questioned liberal and authoritarian ideals. whose logic is to conserve those who serve it. secondly. For some. to the depreciation of the labor of university staff matched by a reduction in their salaries and ultimately. the institution’s subsequent repression by the state led to a process that took place in . This assessment led to the development of at least three alternative proposals. Italy or England. today’s European university is not an exact replica of the system that existed before 1968 (the competent authorities learned their lesson).”46 None of these proposal or forecasts was implemented . believed that because the university was no longer capable of creating the “useful” and was by definition unable to produce a “rebellious” culture. the fact it was provided with a new role is patent. the university did not cease to exist. paradoxically. to outright unemployment. nevertheless. If everyone is able attend university. this took place because it was given a new role by capitalism. If it did not cease to exist and if. which began to limit its resources. to the devaluation of degrees. As soon as the ‘majority’ acquired the possibility of receiving higher education. the selection criteria. through administrative and market mechanisms. Exactly state what role the European university fulfills after 1968 is still unclear. Thirdly and consequently.22 Firstly. it exposed the actual limits of the ideology of educational equality. In Brazil. Germany. This led. capitalist society must replace. thus becoming dead weight for the State. laying the foundations for a critical or “rebellious” university. it was transformed. to make the most of its independence from the market in order to create a new culture that could destroy the division between intellectual and manual labor. it should be destroyed in order to abolish the very idea of ‘the university’ as a “separate culture. For others.not in France. Of course.

Rather the attempt here is merely to understand how a process whose master narrative is global took place in Brazil. here it was prosaic and monotonous. where there is only sameness in the endless proliferation of diversity. it is now designed to create a docile workforce for an increasingly uncertain market. this means: how does the transformation of the university take place in the absence of the demands of liberal democracy? What are the effects today of a reform that took place in the shadows of Brazil’s military dictatorship. increases their similarity to their international counterparts. to inhibit thought in order to block all concrete attempts at decision making.23 Europe before 1968: a modernizing reform of the university. Nevertheless. which after a twelve year lag would produce the same results as Europe 1968. of course. it may perhaps be prudent to start with the particular – the Brazilian university – before attempting a comparison.” since this would only lead to useless abstractions. For them. Guidelines of the University Reform . This is not an attempt to uncover our “national specificity. 477?47 The fact that today’s Brazilian universities have become small ghettos of selfreferentiality. I believe that the university today provides a function that many are reluctant to fulfill. to divide. to create through culture what businesses create through labor. the Institutional Act Number 5 and Decree no. If the Brazilian university is in a state of crisis. this is simply because teaching reforms have inverted its meaning and its purpose – rather than creating ruling elites. it is a sign of the times. one that is indispensable for the very existence of the university: to create socially and politically incompetent individuals. that is. The university is ill equipped for this new role – hence its crisis. The above summarizes the opinions of many contemporary thinkers who have analyzed the so-called crisis of the Brazilian university. without its pre-revolutionary charm. but it does not determine the nature of its foundations. the crisis was simply the end point of a trajectory that had been prefigured by Europe. More specifically. While it may be difficult to talk of differences in the contemporary age of global capitalism. In Europe this narrative had been exuberant. fragment and limit learning. internally fragmented by political divisions and personal disagreements. control and participation both at the level of material production as well as intellectual production.

The previous project of The University of Brasília. A key initial revision was departmentalization. Since this process was to be achieved with “maximum efficiency” and “minimum investment. Inspired by the Meira Mattos report. The university reform fulfilled the second. This report refuted the idea of the autonomous university. with the intention of eliminating the power of chairs and transferring . extending the middle class’ access to higher education. regarded as the ideal venue for teaching material that could be prejudicial to the country’s social order and to democracy. The Meira Mattos report proposed reforms with practical and pragmatic objectives that would be “an instrument for speeding up national development. The first heralded the need to deal with education as a quantitative phenomenon that must be resolved with maximum efficiency and minimum investment.” it will be useful to outline the how this was in fact attained. economic and social progress. the university was to be reformed in order to eradicate the possibility of internal and external dissent. 5 and Decree 477 fulfilled the first function. “headed by individuals recruited from the business community. conceived by Darcy Ribeiro.” 49 Temporarily transformed into a political problem and social priority. Its background stemmed from the combined findings of two reports – the Atacon report (1966) and Meira Mattos report (1968).50 had implemented departmentalization in order to democratize the university. for social progress and for the expansion of opportunities.”48 The second report was concerned with the lack of discipline and authority. as well as to meet demands for social mobility and social prestige from the middle class that had supported the 1964 coup and was now claiming its reward. the Institutional Act No. and it was interested in forming a young generation that was truly responsible and democratic. thereby allowing for the reappearance of student bodies at a national and state level.” Brazil’s university reform took place under the protection of the Institutional Act number 5 and Decree number 477. acting under a business management system that is separate from the technicalscientific and teaching body. thereby linking education to the national imperatives of technical. The most adequate means for achieving this was implementing a university system based on the administrative model of large businesses.24 Devised after 1968 in order to solve the “student crisis. demanding new structures for higher education that were in line with the new administrative order and discipline.

As well as limiting costs. By using professors of so called “idle” courses for the core course instead. Departmentalization in the university reform was different. meaning that courses that were compulsory for some students were optional for others. The standardization of the entrance exam by region. taught at the same time by the same professor and in the same class.” The . this reform would increase the “productivity” of faculty. and thus likely to cause fewer controversies than the explicit entrance exam. one that was internal and concealed. it became a veritable vestibular or entrance exam. as well as the implementation of a classificatory entrance exam. the lack of profit was dealt with. The core course and the entrance exam produced what the educational reform dubbed “the unification of the market of university teaching. by forcing students into these courses or forcing them to enroll in programs in private universities that would otherwise have remained less popular. as was the need to spend money on employing more teaching staff. aimed to fill unpopular courses in degree programs. and also to reduce the need to employ more professors in courses with high enrollment. The core course performed another additional function. while the entrance exam enables more students to gain access to the university. According to the reform’s report. tables and chairs) and eliminating the need to increase the number of faculty (a single professor teaches the same course to the highest number of students possible). In consisted in amalgamating a number of related disciplines into one department in order to offer classes in a single space (one classroom). the core course was implemented in order to make up for “idle” nature of some courses. courses that had little student enrollment and that were not therefore not profitable. that is. This entailed a division between compulsory and optional courses. In this way. departmentalization facilitated administrative and ideological control of professors and students. that of value. reducing material expenditure (chalk and erasers.25 the decision making process to teaching staff. the core course selects students according to a criteria considered fair by all. Consequently. According to the reports. The core course was also invented. mitigating possible social dissatisfaction. who could now teach the same things to larger number of people. students enrolled in different degree programs could study the same courses. Another revision entailed enrollment by courses (courses were split and organized by credits).

26 new classificatory system of the entrance exam intended to minimize complaints by students who had been admitted into university (albeit with low grades) by transferring the actual task of controlling “possible tensions in demand” on to individual courses. Firstly.to the demands of a growing number of students. the increasing introduction of postgraduate courses reinstates socio economic discrimination that is no longer marked in the degree itself. to the system of credits awarded for classroom hours) is proof of this massification. The fragmentation of the degree program and the dispersal of student and faculty intend to put an end to the idea of academic life as a form of community and communication – there are no classes but rather human conglomerates that dissolve at the end of each semester. The fact that a quantitative element now dominates all aspects of the university (from the entirely arbitrary proportion of the number of students to professors. which fosters discrimination within job market: the post graduate earns more and turns the undergraduate into a degraded student – a university peon. making it possible to control careers and by extension. Finally. it grants symbolic prestige. This rather brief description of the university reform highlights at least two key aspects. these shorter degree programs ensure a constant supply for higher education courses and justify the poor remuneration of their teaching faculty. university professors and highly qualified workers for bureaucratic businesses and states. This has led both to the disproportionate ratio between faculty and student numbers and also to the demise of high school education. while ensuring that state spending to meet this new demand was proportionally low. power and wage structures within the university itself. The introduction of shorter degrees in the sciences. It is often said that there has been a massification of university teaching because the number of students has increased and the number of courses has decreased. the significance of so-called massification. recuperating university education’s verticality. However. regardless of the course taught. whilst keeping consequential costs to a minimum by reducing their time spent in education. this massification contains . In the long term. Its real goal however. Outside of the university. It functions to contain the expansion of university teaching. is very different. Its ostensible goal is the production of high-level researchers. social sciences and communication studies caters – in the short term .

ideas that linked education to national security. from primary school through to university. in the . whereas those of economic development and integration determine the form. quantity and quality of the entire educational process. were sustained by successive educational reforms. education became a means of training workers for the market. This failure exposes the belief that any old knowledge will do for the masses – there was no need to expand the university in such a way that an increase of quantity would be matched by an increase in quality. length. highlights the political dimension of teaching.27 an elitist notion of knowledge that tends to be obscured by analyses. laboratories) or faculty. social sciences and communication studies in higher education colleges and in universities. the latter became a mere appendage of the former. which links education to security. Following the university reform. opening the university to the “masses. Higher education (according to the liberal concept) functioned differently. Secondly. Conceived as capital. The idea of security performs a clear ideological function.” this was not matched by a proportional growth of the university’s infrastructures (libraries. and in high school in seminars focusing on Brazil’s problems. The first idea. While the reform aimed to meet social demands for more higher education. frequently at play in primary and secondary school in classes dealing with citizenship and brasilidade. Or rather. because it was a cultural good that belonged only to the ruling classes. The other two ideas underscore the economic dimension of education. it became an investment and therefore needed to generate social profit. By emphasizing education as a key component of the nation’s economic development. also possess an ideological objective. it is said to be equally beneficial for all. to economic development and to national integration. the ideas of national economic development and integration. As well as highlighting the economic determinations of education. education came under the auspices of the Ministry of Planning. power relations and dominant ideology. that is. The University Profile Three of the key ideas that guided the reform of teaching in general and of the university in particular. content. rather than the Ministry for Education. This explains the emphasis on professional or vocational courses in the sciences. In the past schools were privileged sites for reproducing class structures. that is. to socially legitimize the idea of teaching and of education as capital.

according to criteria that are completely unrelated to education and research. Lacking economic significance as well as political expression it promises a rebellion that has no future. it is possible to fully agree with these views. However. Expanded in order to receive the sons and daughters of the middle class. making it an anachronistic institution. to the extent that the ruling class no longer emerges from the educated cadres. The speech made by the minister of education. included as an epigraph to this essay. the reform means that universities do not to produce and transmit culture (dominant or not). It is either stimulated by financial investments or disabled by budget cuts. By separating education and knowledge. ignoring the . but that are determined exclusively by the performance of capital. but from other social segments. Since development is national. and its overall growth is seen as an index of democratization. Such views would suggest that. the university becomes a permanent focus of frustrations and resentments. in my opinion. claiming that the university does not create a work force or train workers because this function is carried out more quickly and efficiently by businesses that are capable of creating in little time and at little cost the labor they require. Since integration is national. rather they train individuals and make them productive for employers.28 long term. the university offers them neither material advantages nor social prestige. the reproduction of class relations mediated by the occupational structure defined by education is also obscured. the subordination of the university to the Ministry of Planning means that higher education begins to function as a kind of “fluctuating variable” of the economic model. Others have argued that the university could be seen as politically undesirable for the state. Many have challenged this interpretation. the class dimension of education is obscured. The university trains and supplies a work force. However. in addition to having lost its previous ideological and political function. Devoid of all function. the university has not acquired an economic function. Education and culture are in this case linked: culture is regarded as a form of investment and expenditure. and evasion – these are the signs of the non-sense of the university. because they seems to lose sight of the articulation between the economic and the political. withdrawal. and an irrational element rather than a rationalizing force. a variable of planning. Unemployment. confirms this view of education. a dead weight for the state.

intermittent incentives provided by the Ministry of Planning. are a sign of its variable importance within the framework of the economic model. social sciences and arts and communications. unless we consider the creation of an educated reserve of workers as extra-economic. The new university is incapable of fulfilling the goals of former. Its hasty modernization makes the university seem irrational and useless. from the university’s economic function. Additionally. it creates a future filled with unemployed individuals. the liberal university. It is also important to remember that the lack of jobs for graduates does not equate to the university’s lack of economic determination. The liberal university has become anachronistic and undesirable in Brazil. is dying. On the contrary. Science and Letters. since even oscillations in funding. like the University of São Paulo’s Faculty of Philosophy. in a manner that somewhat resembles the progressives. and of the rationality of social life through the diffusion of culture. Based on the ideas of country’s ruling intellectual elites who were formed and driven by the idea of public space as a space of opinions. To negate the university’s role in training workers is to not ignore the precise meaning of this training: following the diffusion and expansion of secondary education (which was initially charged with this function because it accompanied the expansion of higher education for political rather than economic reasons). that is. that only something that advances the political can have an economic function and vice versa. To simply claim that university finances are not linked to education and research does not eliminate its economic nature. of social leveling through education. these views appear to confuse the old liberal university with the reformed university. the university began to perform out a professionalizing and vocational role. This occurred not because of a real need for advanced instruction but simply because the increase in graduates meant that employers began to . Its death is so protracted that it appears to be in a state of crisis. financial dependency appears to be one of the university’s only forms of existence. It is impossible to separate the implementation of degrees (short and now long) in the sciences. incapable of dealing with the demands of the market.29 immediately functional relationship between them and supposing. but rather necessary.51 This does not preclude the reformed university’s economic determination. something that is not surprising.

its methods are bureaucratic. it means that the . and that businesses can “qualify” someone in a few hours or days. like knowledge itself. easy prey for networks of domination and authority. administrative and departmental roles. as well as participating in the social division of labor (which separates intellectual labor from manual labor). that fragmentation is not random or irrational. as well as management. The fact that the university degree can be simplified and shortened. is to lose sight of the new role of the university. This however. from teaching to research. the university is structured along the organizational model of large businesses. The fragmentation of the university occurs at all levels. that is. which it is incapable of doing. the university is responsible for producing socially incompetent individuals. firstly. as well as providing concrete conditions for their participation (either the educational system or the labor process). suggests that in order to carry out a real economic function the university must create an intellectual work force. The opposite situation would require university in particular and education in general to offer social individuals the conditions to control their labor and the power for making their own decisions. which is the particular mode of the articulation between the economic and the political: like businesses. by hook or by crook. It would be a mistake to reduce the universityindustry nexus to the financial complex of research and the production of a workforce. less is taught and less is learned. because the university itself is internally organized according to the model of a large capitalist business. As such. The university trains individuals. An appendage to the Ministry of Planning. Thus. and the laws of the market determine its condition. To claim that the university does not train workers because businesses do. Taylorism is the rule. This means. it creates divisions between administrative activities and research. just as businesses do. Secondly.30 demand more of job candidates. the university also creates internal divisions of intellectual labor. the university is responsible for an initial and general training that is subsequently completed by businesses. loses sight of the key issue. proves that as cultural and technological archive expands. it is deliberate because it obeys the principles of modern capitalist industry: to divide and control. To ignore the fact that training emerges from economic and political conditions that are geared toward exploitation and domination simply because supply and demand is not always met in the labor market. Its goal is output.

certain norms and concepts whose empty formalism can be applied to anything regardless of its reality. students and staff. Subjecting the university to the bureaucratic administration. The administrative roles of public universities do not differ from those in private universities. the deliberate imposition of a fragmented cultural life. a universe of market equivalences. Administration. creating a system of power in which each person knows directly who is in charge of them and that hinders the possibility of having a vision of the entire group and ascertaining their responsibilities. these administrative and bureaucratic connections mean that state vigilance and protection are determined by the nature of work conducted. in which anything goes for everything and nothing is worth nothing. Petrobras or the university. In today’s world. a contemporary form of capitalist rationality. This means. Linked to the state apparatus and separated from the university collective. leads to a very specific kind of unity: bureaucratic administration. by output and productivity. founded on the radical separation between decision and execution. in other words. In addition to the relations between management and education/culture. that unity cannot be achieved as a result of intrinsic criteria applied to teaching or research but only by extrinsic determinations. involves the complete exteriority between university teaching and research on the one hand and the university’s management or control on the other. Bureaucracy is characterized by the functional hierarchy of positions that. determine a hierarchy of salaries and of authority. Thirdly. in reality they are representatives of the state within the university. From an administrative stand point.31 fragmentation of education and of research is a corollary of the fragmentation imposed on culture and teaching by the ideas of specialization and of competency. there is no difference between Volkswagen. a situation or even a collection of principles. According to this way of thinking. a ceremonious bureaucracy conceals an essential characteristic: those in charge belong to the university in appearance only (they are professors). this absence of specificities or differences means that everything is homogenous and can therefore be subject to the same principles. to administer simply means imposing onto an object. the ruling mechanisms reduce . although in the latter the ties between management and owners are visible. in turn. In public universities.and its faculty. above all. the organizational model ultimately leads to a division between the university’s management – its deans. chancellors and principles.

it is cultural (criteria for selecting undergraduate and post gradate students. employing faculty. collaborations decided outside of the university). so that the decision to use the instrumental culture produced or acquired is not made by the university). There are however.32 the faculty. and leisure) and. research funding. one that transforms culture into a valuable object in a reification that overwrites cultural production with the image of prestige of those who produce and consume it. work. one that is carried out by education. Brazil’s public university can therefore be defined as a completely heteronomous reality. students and staff do not decide what services they would like to offer society. endowments. preserves the myth of culture as valuable in itself. students and staff to the passive condition of carrying out superior orders whose meaning and goal must remain secret. Grosso modo. To claim that the university is autonomous is therefore both farcical and an impossible ideal. as well as popularizing and trivializing cultural works. University and Culture Defined as unproductive. evaluation. . but it will always produce the same result: the instrumentalization of cultural production. it is social and political (professors. two other. This compensation can be achieved in a number of ways. systems of credit and attendance. degrees. which. validation of diplomas and certificates. whilst also inhibiting its actual access to the consuming masses. sexuality. there are three immediate and visible forms of the instrumentalization of culture: firstly. for devising curricula. desires and objectives. one that is achieved by the culture industry. entrance exams. and thirdly. scholarships. syllabi. in order to reproduce class relations and ideological systems and also to train workers for the market. it is educational (curricula. implementation of post graduate courses). secondly. culture must somehow compensate for its lack of productivity in capitalist society. because bureaucracy receives its power from secrecy. The first emanates from the culture industry and it consists in convincing each individual that they are destined to social exclusion if their experiences are not preceded by the ‘competent’ information that orients people’s feelings. methods of instrumentalizing culture. Culture becomes a practical guide for proper living (providing advice on diets. terms. which are quantitative and determined outside of the university). nor who they will offer them to. Heteronomy is economic (budgets. tastes. and services. more subtle and dangerous.

33 consequently. not only because this identification opens the floodgates for nationalistic ideologies (generally. In the humanities. The second consists in confusing knowledge (or knowing) with thought (or thinking). for instance. the common critique within the humanities is that that the socio economic system is contrary to the very idea of culture and has immersed the humanities in a pure technicism. It reduces the sphere of knowledge to learning. In the sciences and technology. through reflection. To identify cultural autonomy with national autonomy is. that is. Economic heteronomy is . a powerful element of social intimidation. for instance. may be true but they are also partial. However. eroding its very meaning and relegating it to the condition of an ornament or a relic to be tolerated. capitalism as a global phenomenon that determines particular forms of action that are mediated by the nation state. thought operates in the realm of the instituting. Limiting its field to an established knowledge. ignoring the labor of thinking. or administering it. This must be produced through reflexive labor. the only assurance coming from one’s own experience. distributing it and quantifying it. and they oppose those who lament the end of a university where teaching was an art form and research was a life-long labor. the division of classes in Brazilian society. analyzing critiques concerning cultural production made by those working within the university itself. it is widely argued that dependency on the economic system blocks all independent research and limits the role university to training individuals to become agents of a foreign know-how. there is nothing easier than dividing it. statist). Knowledge operates in the realm of the institutional. questionable. To know is to intellectually appropriate a given field of facts or ideas that constitute established forms of knowledge. These observations. takes this discussion in another direction. many are fascinated by modernization. To think is to confront. but also and above all because it obscures the key issues: on the one hand. the opacity of a new experience whose meaning has yet to be formulated and that has not been provided elsewhere. which express the disenchantment of university faculty as producers of culture. by administrative rationality and quantitative efficacy. and on the other. The Brazilian university is responsible for the instrumentalization of culture. With regards to the commensurability between the university and society. fragmenting it.

a conscience that institutes representations. the State.” If science and techniques manipulate things and “give up living in them. man occupies exactly the same kind of place (separate and external) that power and its figuration. both for those at the “center” and those on the “periphery” of the system. modern man creates a conjunction of theoretical and practical apparatuses. So much so. Modern man. A sovereign conscience because it is detached from objects. a place that is separate from things. allowing for the Baconian adage: “knowledge is power. knowledge and manipulation. with new meaning. The subject.”52 this is because they have been transformed into objectivities.34 undoubtedly real. as a subject of knowledge and action. We cannot forget that modern humanism was born as an ideal of technical power over nature (by science) and society (by politics). Placing itself as separate from things. a new way of thinking is necessary. The important question then is not. To become a subject of representations and of the practical apparatus. that he needs to elaborate the idea of the objectivity of the real in order to make it susceptible to mastery. meaning that so-called modern western man is not a negation of the technocrat. Seeing humanism and technicism as polar opposites then is not productive. how does scientific research help Brazil. therefore defining the relationship of knowledge and the relationship of technique as one of order and submission. as the creator of representations. In order to provide the opposition humanism/technicism. is moved by the desire for practical mastery over the totality of the real. a form of control. This is the deeper meaning of the Baconian adage. As a subject of knowledge. but who does scientific research help Brazil? The direct opposition between humanism and technicism may also be seen as illusory. that is. into controllable representations. the subject gives himself the very hallmark of modern power. that is. not because of dependency but because the logic of imperialism as finance capitalism is to abolish any possibility of national autonomy. but one of his ancestors. founded in the modern idea of objectivity as the complete determination of the real. one in which . that is. it was necessary for modern man to create a space for himself. The place of power in the modern world is the separate place. that is. and thanks to this separation he can control them. since Bacon stated that the best way to control Nature was to start by obeying it. control. occupies the place of the pure observer. occupy in modern society. because they are different outcomes of the same origin. and these representations are activities of the modern subject.

The real must be transformed into a dead object to acquire university citizenship. but because the university is structured in such a way that its function is to provide knowledge in a way that impedes thinking.35 subjectivity. the acceptance of culture through the bias of instrumental reason. the job market. to a representation that is intellectually controlled and manipulated. rigid deadlines for research. that is. being physically present on campus (to reveal their service to the university). Among teaching staff. Not because we are economically “dependent” or because technocracy devoured humanism. Returning to my initial observation. For those of us who do not adhere to this modernizing myth. quantitative criteria as an expression of qualitative work. it leads to a fascinated support for modernization and the criteria of output. may consider the construction of consciences and social relations.” in other words. or because we do not possess sufficient funds to transmit knowledge ourselves. climbing the career ladder (defined bureaucratically). the belief in the “redemption by work. everything that enters the university has a right to be there and to remain there only if it is reduced to knowledge. For many professors modernization. vigilance over “relapses” and an increase in the number of publications (even if these always deal with the same topic and are never developed because they are rewrites) are proof of moral honesty and intellectual seriousness. abandoning the point of view of the sovereign conscience. objectivity. This situation produces a number of effects that is useful to examine. and may always be attentive to the problem of men’s power over others. the construction of theoretical models for practical and immediate application. as well as benefiting . credits. For many. efficiency and productivity. that is. Those who adhere to the myth of modernization have simply interiorized the supporting mechanisms of bourgeois ideology: objectively. this is not completely true. To know in order to not think. seems unbelievable. To consume rather than producing the work of reflection. an emphasis on book publications. I would venture to say that we are not producers of culture. But. A way of thinking that. subjectively. meeting deadlines and obtaining credits. To acquire and reproduce knowledge without creating. productivity. theory and practice are open and inconclusive questions rather than pre-established solutions. the mind-set of colleagues who are excited about classroom hours. the emphasis on “the modern” seems to be an abdication of the very spirit of culture. which is called class struggle. the belief that efficiency.

they are nevertheless worrying. transforming “Thesis 11 on Feuerbach” into a slogan. based on the “immediacy” of affects with no elaboration or reflection. ready to charge against anything and everything that may emerge as other. infantilization (necessary for the cult of authority) and fear (necessary for the practice of terror) occupy a privileged place. Refusing instrumental reason. producing frustrations that allow affective life to be channeled for politically determined contents. Founded on the already known. an aggressive passivity. these professors feel vindicated by their conscience of having fulfilled a duty. as well as the death of the art of teaching and the pleasure of thinking. fear and attachment to authority – this tends to be the balance sheet of a reality constituted only by manipulators and manipulated. With regards to the dogmatic and equally immediate attachment to “Theses 11. that is. means that the university has finally become useful and therefore justifiable. Sound and fury. colleagues who use the university not to hide their own incompetence but to discipline and punish those who dare to think. a pre-established practice (past effects transformed into as exemplary actions to be imitated or avoided) and a pre-established discourse (words take on the guise of a proven “formula”). because whoever is outside of the group can only be an enemy. This rebellion tends to adopt two forms: the immediate valorization of pure feeling and sentiment against the false objectivity of knowledge. It even manipulates them according to its own rules and designs. This presupposes a pre-established knowledge (“theory” as an explanatory model). The immediate and absolute valorization of sentiment has always been a powerful weapon for political fascists who promote the intensification of affects but impede their reflexive elaboration. Although these sentiments are understandable. most students rebel against the modernizing madness. In spite of the petty vision of culture that this entails. already accomplished and already . is transformed into a gregarious sentiment. Clearly we have not focused on episodes of pure and simple bad faith.” this undoubtedly also results in authoritarianism.36 from funding and contracts. The feeling amongst students is different. a touchstone against the university’s impotence. dependency and aggression. The communitarian sentiment. diverting them to objects determined by power. Fascist politics is interested in the explosion of feelings inasmuch as it can impede their natural flow and process. Here. It fulfills the contemporary idea of rationality (administration) and shelters all honest workers. however futile.

The Difficult Question: The Democratic University We are speaking here of academically trained people. and that. it does not flow from the nature of the work itself. beyond the creation of a historical possibility. apart from a concept of duty unrelated to his own inner labor. people who for professional reasons have some kind of inner connection with the spiritual struggles and skeptical or critical attitudes of students. he has a stipend from other people. No connection. being historical. students tend to reduce theoretical work to the repetition ad nauseam of abstract models and to the practice of mechanically applying these models. not by enduring all the doubts of an earnest seeker. say. is consumed by the pure technique of acting within a circumscribed field of the probable and foreseeable. leading to a belief in the possibility of immediately progressing to its transformation.37 pronounced. The concept of duty here is calculated. authoritarianism makes thinking in the here and now useless. It is a concept based on a mechanical contrast: on the one hand. in the form of tactics and strategies. There is no internal or authentic connection between the spiritual existence of a student and. he is acting out his social duty. derivative. as it is often referred to. that is. or indeed by any set of . These people appropriate a milieu entirely alien to themselves and make it their workplace. Relinquished from the need to think. This sense of duty is satisfied not by suffering in the case of truth. is always traversed by knowing and not knowing. because a definitive. in this remote place they create a limited activity for themselves. waiting to be applied. The dogmatic defense of “Thesis 11” (as well as divesting it of the historical and practical context that gave it meaning) presumes the admission of the uselessness of thought and of reflection in comprehending the real. Beneath the transforming activity hides the fear of confronting the real as something to be understood. and distorted. his concern for the welfare of workers’ children or even for other students. to unravel the meaning of a new experience and paths for an action to be fulfilled. and the entire totality of such labor lies in its alleged utility for an often abstractly conceived society. on the other. but also the very idea of action as a social praxis. What is lost as a result is not just the work of thinking. once this activity. ready and completed explanation already exists – a science.

these proposals and some of their accomplishments have produced significant cultural and political advances. above all for those at the start of their career. Faced with the reigning authoritarianism of universities. we have proposed reinforcing university parliaments. Professors. because. or theory and practice. This barrier is the idea of a democratic university. “The Life of Students” Faced with this escalation of “progress” (understood as the administrative and administered organization of the university). superficial dualism. against the administrative bureaucracy of the university. to the extent that our sights have been focused on a democratization that aims to transform the university structure by . The pressure and demand for greater representation. we have proposed freedom in teaching and research and an emphasis on quality. a barrier has been created in order to contain and if possible reverse it. against the absence of economic autonomy. Thus. and the struggle to diminish hierarchical authority by increasing the representation of teachers. students and staff in college structures and decision making associations. the transparency and control of finances and funds. against the lack of cultural autonomy. much to the concern of university administrators who see these as a threat to their power. our attempts at democratization do not exceed the framework of the demands of liberal democracy! In fact. Instead this sense of duty is worked out in terms of a crude. Walter Benjamin. This is significant. students and staff everywhere have elaborated proposals and practices have emerged that aim to democratize the university.38 beliefs connected with an authentic intellectual life. and finally. our proposals do not go beyond the liberal framework. this means that professors are committed to the right to know and control university finances and to the defense of freedom in teaching and research. denouncing the ideological selection and devalorization of teaching and research by means of quantitative assessment. such as ideals versus materialism. when closely examined. Professors have concentrated their efforts in two key areas: the strengthening of teaching associations as a countervailing power and veto of university bureaucracy.

but we have not discussed the importance of the greatest obstacle to democracy. internal conflicts. and also by differences that range from relations of production . but also from the right to produce knowledge and a lettered culture. Liberal democracy defines and articulates the particular mode of ideas that constitute democracy. eligibility and the alternation of governments.39 increasing representation. not a false democracy. Thus. As a public thing. by the ideas of popular power. On the other hand. which is divided by conflicts of interests. Liberal democracy is therefore. and we want to participate in them. this would force us to understand that the social division of labor excludes segments of the population not just from public space. inherent in TV culture – but it does highlight the difference between the right to have access to the production of culture. turns it into a question of talent and aptitude. contrary to democratic principles. The idea of democracy is constituted by the articulation of other ideas: by the idea of a political community founded on liberty and equality. we have defended freedom in teaching and research as a defense of the freedom of thought (a monumental task in this country). but neither is it the only possible form of democracy. This means that liberal politics and ideology are. which in the original concept of democracy is defined by the presence of a common standard that makes all of its members equal (this standard is the freedom by which the equality of conditions to participate in power and to redistribute goods will be established) is impossible in a class society. It is merely a historically determined form of democracy. class privilege. by definition. We want to increase representation in existing structures of power. we have never questioned their necessity or legitimacy. so that the university can be defended as a public space (a space in which there is freedom of thought) rather than a public thing (which would assume a revision of classes). providing them with a particular context. but the action of class struggle. that is. however. and the ideology that. in which popular forces oblige the ruling classes to this type of system. because the existence of liberal democracy is not the result of the spontaneous decision of the ruling classes. the idea of community. If the university is comprehended as a public thing. which is the radical separation between management and implementation. the university does not make lettered culture more immediately accessible to the uninitiated – this would involve reproducing the ideal of the consumer’s instant gratification. supported by a number of theories.

democratization remains locked within a liberal context. whenever it has been periodically implanted. their control. cannot be worked through socially and are instead routinized by institutional bodies that facilitate their legal expression and. since during the electoral period the place of power is empty.” figuring. the moment of voting. Freedom is reduced to a voice (opinion) and a vote. whose definition is in reality reduced to the right to private property. Conflicts. The first is the subjective expression of the “community” of origins. producing a social organization that disregards class divisions. The idea of representation obscures that of participation. because of this. customs and territory. In liberal democracy. in an imaginary form.40 to participation in culture and power. This idea is clearly incompatible with that of equality because everyone’s formal right to private property is not a concrete possibility if the social system is founded on the inequality of class. Freedom is defined by the idea of independence. Because of this. which articulate the idea of the alternation of governments. the only thing that leads to non-dependence in relation to another being (accordingly. This however. lose their symbolic character (meaning. which has a strong authoritarian tradition. Liberal democracy therefore reinforces the idea of citizenship as a right to representation. This contractual relation is seen as a juridical reality and. making democracy an exclusively political phenomenon. general interests over and above particular interests. liberal democracy always appears to be a great historical and political achievement. In a country like Brazil. Equality therefore. dependents are not free). within in the university. equality is defined as equality before the law. should not prevent us from comprehending a democratic possibility beyond the limits of liberalism. the occasional revelation of the origins of power. In doing . it is revealed as belonging to no-one but rather as shared by the sovereign society) by reducing this to a routine of the substitution of governments (so that power is always occupied). therefore. The second is the objective face of the “community. comes to be defined by the private property of the body and by a contractual relation amongst equals (everyone is the owner of their own body and desires). concealing the possibility of confronting it as social and historical. it is entirely understandable that. not being conflicts of interest but conflicts of class. Elections. reducing this to the electoral moment. and equality is reduced to the right to have a law in one’s favor and to possess representatives. two entities should substitute the idea of a free and equal community: the Nation and the State.

What is the separation between management and workers if not a form of institutionally reducing a part of society to the condition of object? It is here. In previously stating that our struggles and proposals for democracy do not exceed the liberal framework. political parties and even cultural production). understood as social and political democracy. in the social division of labor. it is found throughout all of civil society in the kind of economic exploitation and social domination carried out by institutions. The fulcrum for contemporary power. frequently within the law. leisure. in the separation between proprietors and producers. that the university can be questioned. Seen in this light. social institutions like schools. I did not intend to minimize the importance of these struggles and proposals. progressively reducing the field of common actions and groups. transport. Democracy. we would need to start by understanding that democracy is not the form of a political regime. political and cultural forms of their own life. is the separation between management and workers in all spheres of social life (economy. rather than a discussion of citizenship as a form of representation. the democratic question should focus concretely on citizenship itself – agents’ right to manage the economic. social. Therefore. Violence is not the violation of the law –we need only mention here violent laws. It would also be necessary to re-examine the idea of representation before immediately linking it to participation. I believe. especially if we consider the authoritarian context in which they were made. I merely intended to . urban spaces.41 so. It is the position. democracy would allow us to understand that power is not restricted to the State. restricting social space to isolated domestic space (we need only look at contemporary urban landscapes to see the increasing privatization of life). which reduces a subject to the condition of object. periodically mobilizing individuals in order to de-politicize them. From this point of view. but a social form of existence. in the form of bureaucratic administration or organization. democracy highlights the problem of violence. managers and workers. hospitals. Social and political democracy founded on concrete forms of citizenship that begin at the place of work marks the passage from sociopolitical objects to sociopolitical subjects. would also allow us to understand how social divisions operate in the sense of increasingly privatizing social existence. of the right to reduce a social subject to a manipulable object.

their professors. It would be necessary to acknowledge here that the place of the professor is symbolic – and therefore. we tend to hide it in two ways: either by “dialogue” or “class participation.” promoting the semblance of a lack of difference between us and the students at the very moment that we transform this relationship into a routine. If we do not think about the very meaning of the act of teaching and of thinking. We are not dealing here with the authoritarianism of university regulations (we know what these are and whom they are for). but rather a point of arrival. Professors and researchers practice violence on a daily basis and our democratic failure is increasingly alarming because it is reinforced by the university institution and interiorized by each of us. Pedagogical labor would therefore be labor in the fullest sense of the word: a movement that suppresses the student as a student. and research. we will never be able to conceive of a university democracy. that is. as imaginary. As a result it is always ready to be possessed. so that we are the mediators of this dialogue not their obstacle. everyone could aspire to it equally. transformed into a lifetime possession of knowledge. We are dealing with the use of knowledge to exercise of power. as another professor. not to highlight it as asymmetrical but rather as an inequality that justifies the exercise of our authority. but from ways of thinking. Dialogue therefore is not the point of departure. Far from accepting that the professor-student relation is asymmetrical. there is little to praise. thanks to asymmetry itself. since it belongs to no one. or we acknowledge the difference.42 suggest that they do not allow us to analyze the violence that we ourselves are implicated in. reducing students to the condition of things. always empty. and for this reason. and therefore with cultural praxis. once asymmetry is overcome and equality is installed.” When we look at pedagogical relations within the university. Two situations (taken from many) highlight this: pedagogical relations. . which focuses on “a history written by winners. the pedagogical relationship would reveal the place of knowledge as always empty. If students are engaged in dialogues with forms knowledge and culture and embodied in texts. often unknowingly. so that he can emerge as an equal to the professor. and robbing them of their right to be the subjects of their own discourse. What would the acknowledgment of an asymmetrical relation as difference entail? It would involve understanding that students’ dialogue does not stem from us.

customs. its politics and ideas. production and culture. Involuntary cohorts of the ruling class. interpreted and periodized according to visions and divisions that belong to the dominant class. this commitment does not even have the alibi of a submission to finance. . the objects of research have neither time nor presence in the space of the university. we also find little cause for celebration. whilst not completely belonging to Brazil. is often the history that the dominated. desires. revolts. that is. our discussions concerning democratization will be converted into a pious vote with no future. research treats the country’s history. narrated. While this commitment is mediated in the field of science. If we do not think of these commitments that determine the university’s very production. This aspect becomes truly dramatic when the “object of research” is the dominant class itself. Brazilian society. they are included in a society that excludes them. in its structure and history. is described. We are committed to the core to the knowledge of the dominant classes. As well as robbing its condition as subject. In other words. and in a history that periodically subjugates them and a culture that systematically reduces them. in the continuum of a history that. the content of research is conditioned by money. in the social sciences.43 If we examine the field of research. refuses. implicitly or explicitly. the dominated enter university research through dominant concepts.

. . 4 (1974).. 18 Luiz Antônio Machado da Silva. acumulação e miséria. 80. 20 TN: The Banco Nacional de Habitação (BNH) was established in 1965 by Brazil’s military government as part of its housing policy to carry out large-scale accommodation initiatives geared toward both middle and lower-class residents. 3 (1974). 10 José Arthur Giannotti. Immigration and the Early Working Class. perhaps. Memória e sociedade.. 709. the length of this text made this impractical.” Revista Estudos. José Cláudio. 2 My original intention was to comment the CPC’s manifesto in the third part of this essay. they were banned by the military regime in 1964. operária. tr. producing films and records. 127. 3 Regarding this point. “As mulheres da truma do caminhão. 17 Verena M. (Petrópolis: Ed. in Manuel Tosta Berlinck. Os bóias-frias. 7 Aracky Martins Rodrigues. 16 Ibid.” Cidade—Usos e abusos (São Paulo: Brasiliense. 14 Lewis Hanke. “Enxada e voto.. 23 Juan Martínez Alier.. and between the three forms of art – the art of the people.” Debate e Crítica. no.Ibid. (São Paulo. 6 Verena M.” Cidade. no. 11 Karl Marx. Alier. 82. 8 See the collection Arte popular e dominação. (Rio de Janeiro: Zahar). 1975.. Duglas Monteiro.Usos e abusos. Lewis. Barriguelli. and revolutionary -suggesting that. Barcelona University Working Papers (1978). 1976. Os errantes do novo século. (São Paulo. 1979). these works were particularly valuable: E.Usos e abusos. “O significado do botequim. and by participating in literacy programs. Maria Conceição de Incão e Mello. Eduardo Hoornaert “Folclore é invenção de policiais. 13 Oscar. Igreja contra Estado. n/d).” Debate e Crítica. Brasil. 1975). 1978). 1978). Cebrap/Vozes 24: 78. ibid. 1977. “Usos e abusos: reflexões sobre as metamorfoses do trabalho. 12 Roberto Romano da Silva.40 1 TN: Initiated in 1961 the Centers for Popular Culture of Brazil’s National Student’s Union attempted to establish a cultural and political link with the Brazilian people or masses by putting on plays in factories and working class neighborhoods.” Debate e Crítica. “O teatro popular rural: o circo-teatro. popular. Notas sobre el franquismo. (São Paulo: Alternativa. cit. the advances of anthropological studies in Brazil could make these politically unacceptable distinctions “scientifically” questionable. “Adaptação da população e ‘cultura da pobreza’ em São Paulo.. 1976). 1978). (São Paulo: Taq. Editor.. Jahrbuch für Geschichte. 1979_ 22 Ibid. Leituras de operárias. Trabalho e capital monopolista. USP (doctoral dissertation). 21 Ecléa Bosi. O paraíso via Embratel (Rio de Janeiro: Paz e Terra 1978). in Giannotti. 4 Paulo Freire. Ibid. Aristóteles e os índios americanos. (São Paulo: Símbolo.” Os partidos políticos e as eleições no Brasil (Rio de Janeiro: Paz e Terra/Cebrap. Vozes). 9 Harry Braverman. 1972). however. cit.” Arte popular e dominação. Verena M. The Making of the English Working Class (London: Penguin. Alier. Thompson. Lúcio Kowarik. 5 José de Souza Martins. (São Paulo: Alternativa. “Viola quebrada. 15 Ibid. 465. “Formas da sociabilidade capitalista. VI. Pedagogia do oprimido (Rio de Janeiro: Paz e Terra 1975. Petrópolis. 61. Das Kapital. Luiz Augusto Milanesi. Along with the National Student’s Union. My idea was to interweave comments regarding the distinctions between the ‘people as phenomenon’ and the ‘people as essence’ (an interesting method for working with the dialectic of appearance and essence). 99. Kairós. Ibid. 30-32. Martins Ed. 61. Ecléa Bosi. Alier. Operário. See also Michael Hall.” Cidade. Lembranças de velhos. 19 Ibid. 17.P. Vozes.. Ed. (Petrópolis: Ed. 1978). 5 (1975). no.

Homens livres na ordem escravocrata (São Paulo: IEB/USP. 43. (Temple: Smoth. consists of the difference between a religion whose speculative content is recognized and another that cannot cease demanding revelation and manifestation. 27 TN: The Padroado was an agreement between the Vatican and the Kingdoms of Portugal and Spain that delegated to the kings the power to appoint local clergy. 39 Ibid. of remembering. 37 Christopher Hill. no. 1977). 1 (1977). Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right. 1976). 1969). 1972). a particular.” referencing. 60. 1 (1977). dogmatic and manifest. contemplated and honored as another being. La patience du concept (Paris: Gallimard. of the abolition of imagination and representation.” (Feuerbach. espíritas (Petrópolis: Vozes. In it.. 31 Ibid. On the other hand. 131-132. corporal. how a legitimate spouse asks a saint for the return of their mate while calling upon an Umbandist or Macumbist “deed” to seduce a lover. human essence separated from the limits of the human individual. 1 (1977). representative. Os errantes do novo século. thus cementing a coincidence of localized political and religious authority. t. sensitive. Liberation theologians introduced the system of base community pastoral work into the Catholic Church in the 60s. distinct other. Christianity.” Religião e Sociedade. or real. contentious. 1972).41 24 These references to a young Marx and an elder Hegel were found in Gérard Lebrun. 36 TN: Bichas is a vernacular term for gay men. of an interiority reconciling the finite and the infinite. 131-132. 35 Peter Fry.. Religion is the infantile essence of humanity (…) Religion. protestantes. 1973). The divine being is only human essence. 33 Cândido Procópio de Camargo. 40 Ibid. 29 TN: The Christianizing courses originated in Spain in the 1940’s as the Cursillos de Cristianidad and constituted a movement away from the church hierarchy and towards a lay engagement with Catholicism through projects of charismatic evangelization in which believers would revitalize their faith through three day workshops or courses led by laymen. or better yet. 65. Católicos. in other words. 1914). L’essence du Christianisme (Maspéro: 1973). no. Douglas Monteiro. in reality. for example.” Religião e Sociedade. Monteiro offers the term “religions of order. preface.” Religião e Sociedade. with his essence as the essence of another being. of invisibility. the popular version is immediate. “A cura por correspondência. 44. at least Christianity. more precisely. for example. an “object” of devotion and of nostalgic memory. the difference between Christianity and Judaism.. but it failed to take into account the objects of clerical devotion. historical Protestantism was correct in its critique of Brazilian Catholicism for its devotional (the people) and clerical (the dominant class) mentality. 42 Juana Elbein. 41 Baruch Spinoza. Ibid. . The World Upside Down. no. is a religion of mediations. for example in the favelas of Brazil’s big cities. 30 Maria Sylvia Carvalho Franco. before finding it in himself. 131. (Massachussets: Cambridge U Press. 25 “Religion is man’s first self-consciousness. 28 Riolando Azzi. “Mediunidade e sexualidade. between Christianity in its true form and its “primitive” or popular form. 32 In Brazil. objectified.. yet indirect (…) initially man dislocates his own essence toward his exterior. O Nagô e a morte (Petrópolis: Vozes. II. 34 Duglas Monteiro. God is an emptiness placed in the beyond. is the relation of man with himself or. “Catolicismo popular e autoridade eclesiástica na evolução histórica do Brasil. 38 Karl Marx. Tratado teológico-político (Haya: Van Vloten e Land. 26 For Hegel.

” Revista Discurso. See in particular the chapter “Productive and Unproductive Labor.” Les Temps Modernes.42 43 In her study of the Nagô of the Brazilian state of Bahia. while those that had a higher demand could be increased. Labor and Monopoly Capital. It also suspended habeas corpus. no. 1974).” Revista Novos Estudos Cebrap. The Act closed the National Congress and shifted all power to the Executive. 20 (1988).) The study of the theocratic policies clarifies the inseparability of the two forms of relating to power. a law that virtually wiped out the independent politics of the university system. 285 (1970). 8 (1977). 51 In an interview on Canal 2.” 46 André Gorz. Protests and marches were prohibited and campuses strictly watched. meaning courses whose supply was greater than the labor market’s demand should be reduced. 50 TN: Darcy Ribeiro (1922-1997). no. 48 Werner Baer. 1. 1964).” Arte em Revista. 9. 52 Maurice Merleau Ponty. “These similarities (between the “terreiro” and its origins) were intensified even more after the creation of the ‘body of ministers’ of Xangô. enacted censorship. Brazilian anthropologist and also the first chancellor and enthusiastic supporter of the foundation of the University of Brasília in 1961. no. no. what is more interesting (and more alarming) is the “similarity” of both in a space in which there is supposed to have been a separation between religion and the State. However. the regime imposed Decree 477. the rector of the University of São Paulo Waldir Oliva stated that the problem of unemployment or the lack of jobs for graduates could be resolved by relocating university places. . Ibid. 45 Harry Braverman. TV Cultura in São Paulo. suggesting that the former reveals a concentration of politico-religious power. 49 Marilena Chauí. “O crescimento brasileiro e a experiência desenvolvimentista. six on the right and six on the left of Iyaiaxê. 17. and made illegal any type of political organization opposing the regime.” (Elbein.. 47 TN: The Ato Institutional Número 5 (AI-5) or the Institutional Act Number 5 was implemented in 1968 and marks the hardening of the military regime controlling the Brazilian government since the coup of 1964. “Destroy the University. L’oeil et l’espirit (Paris: Gallimard. 44 This term comes from the anti-project of the “Manifesto do CPC. “A reforma do ensino. 38. The Degradation of Work in the Twentieth Century (New York: Monthly Review Press. In the wake of this act. Juana Elbein notes the insufficiency of the research on the relations between the organization of the “terreiro” and the originating socio-political organization of its practitioners.

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