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,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

for when they overcome that boundary they will suffer internal repression.32 Similarly the contemporary courses of Christianity. social participation. violence manifesting itself in the concealment of the inequality inherent in the bonds of personal dependence. 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. does free them of the stigma of a ‘foreign’ conscience. promote Bible reading. however. 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).12 second. expresses itself in a number of institutions whose synthesis and meaning centers on relationships of favor. 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). popular religion. it establishes strict boundaries between the sacred and the profane. . as conservative. and a spirit of community through an encounter with Christ. but of contesting social injustice. conscious of the discrepancy between the egalitarian ideas of religion and society’s injustices. On the other hand. explains the initial conversion of Catholics (urban middle class) to historical Protestantism. in terms of traditional and modern. therefore. 2) Popular religion is characterized by a “limited level of consciousness with regards to the values that justify it. evident amongst the poor and the dominant. communal confession. While the past idea of the laity does not explain the extent of the “popular” in religion.31 So. The opposition between internalized and popular religion. Neither does the idea of the base community in the present allow us to determine the extent of the “social” in Catholic religious life. defined as traditional and. a religion of the masses. There is a modernizing tone in this second modality resulting from the use of scientific advances (particularly in the human sciences and medicine). producing the same separation accomplished by politics in religion.”33 in opposition to an internalized religion in which the believer participates in a conscientious and deliberate manner. tends to legitimize the status quo by means of a sacred vision of the world that supports the dominant order.

which defines itself as a ‘scientific’ vision of Christianity? By stating that Kardec should read Comte and that positivism is not modern? Additionally. ‘Modernity. seen. a feeling of community. obscures religion’s determining function in capitalist society. Religion provides direction in life. Moreover. Migration and isolation.a mass religion. the way in which Catholicism is internalized and modernized and that Protestantism continues to be modern.’ which appears to be intrinsically good. Bourdieu and Vasquez? How can we classify Kardec’s Spiritism. a job. in other words. 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. It would be advisable to proceed carefully with the procession pedestal for the saint is made of clay. while the members of the latter should read Buber and Marx. in the redefinition of gender and familial roles ‘explained’ by the sciences (or. emphasizes the disenchantment of the world and the admission of its rationality. illness and unemployment. wives. the value attributed to mass communication techniques are also emphasized as a feature of modernity. because. drive them from a traditional popular religion toward a different one . 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. 3) Adherence to urban (mass) popular religion is an attempt by the oppressed to triumph over a world seen as hostile and oppressive. it compensates misery for a system of ‘graces:’ a cure. Umbanda. It also explains the conversion of poor Catholics to mass urban religions (Pentecostalism. by the demands of the labor market). poverty and lack of power. for example. This approach can be quite problematic due to its extremely functionalist character.13 whose modern ethic responds to the individual and democratizing anxieties of men immersed definitively in capitalist society. Yet for the poor who do not benefit from scientific accomplishments (medicine in particular). Seicho-no-vê). knowledge about the world. Spiritism. the return home for unfaithful husbands. For instance. which substitutes the pulpit for the television. the prostituted daughter . and who cannot tolerate the idea of their misery being rational. a modern. the search for religions that respond to their vital concerns becomes a pressing need. the delinquent son. In this case Billy Graham. serves to highlight the extent of the manipulative character of modern religiosity.

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

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

Elaborating a transcendent justification (destiny. the miracle is the true profanation of purified or internalized religions. God is will. it is because this society. Extending time (calling itself eternity) and constructing space in recognizable coordinates (calling them sacralization).38 responds to the terror of desegregation. It is the lament of the oppressed creature. expression and protest against real misery. It is here that the expression ‘opiate of the masses’ becomes a truism.16 popular religion into mass religion. Expressing the contradictory play of two passions . predestination) for what happens in the here and now. the critique of paradise is transformed into a critique of the world. in the latter. future. religion transforms the everyday into an ought whose cause is found in a distant. in fact. the first step in the secularization of the real. Thus. popular version of logic” in the manner of the young Marx. a critique of theology into a critique of politics. more remote.the only moment in which there is certainty that the suppressed cry has escaped and been heard. is only tolerated by them. critique of illusions. manifests a strictly personal relationship between the supreme power and the suppliant . the heart of a world without a heart. co-opting its leaders for the services of the dominant class. “universal compendium. religion. for if “religion is the inverted vision of the world. The cosmic order of space and time eliminating chance. one of stunning simplicities for the religious soul—is. at the same time. soul of a soulless condition (…). de jure. and as the hope for good when . providence. separation and reconciliation of the finite and the infinite conjuring the fear of death. or in an inaccessible. Spinoza41 considers religiosity to be the originating imaginary form of relating to power. religion opens up horizons in the world. this State is an inverted world. Thus.fear and hope . In the former. Thanks to popular religion.”39 Emancipation from religious consolation is the task of history. past. for it breaks with the predetermined order of the world through an imaginary effort. The miracle. karma. inacceptable for theologies and.”40 Contrary to intellectual interpretations that see religion as the effect of the ignorance of the absolute’s true nature. moirai. God is reason. yet hoped for. 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).religion realizes itself as the coming of an evil when good is hoped for. “The misery of religion is. while demarcating its rigid limits. the miracle . a critique of religion into a critique of the law.the defining gesture of popular religions.

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

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

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

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

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

”46 None of these proposal or forecasts was implemented . As soon as the ‘majority’ acquired the possibility of receiving higher education. For others. For some. Thirdly and consequently. it exposed the actual limits of the ideology of educational equality. Germany. through administrative and market mechanisms. thus becoming dead weight for the State. to outright unemployment. paradoxically. the explosion of the student movement in 1968 questioned liberal and authoritarian ideals. to the devaluation of degrees. Many however. the selection criteria. this took place because it was given a new role by capitalism. the institution’s subsequent repression by the state led to a process that took place in . If it did not cease to exist and if. Of course. today’s European university is not an exact replica of the system that existed before 1968 (the competent authorities learned their lesson). If everyone is able attend university. Italy or England. the solution was to develop the absence of productivity in higher education by substituting the idea of a “useful culture” for a “rebellious” culture. Exactly state what role the European university fulfills after 1968 is still unclear. it should be destroyed in order to abolish the very idea of ‘the university’ as a “separate 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. laying the foundations for a critical or “rebellious” university. to the depreciation of the labor of university staff matched by a reduction in their salaries and ultimately. secondly. believed that because the university was no longer capable of creating the “useful” and was by definition unable to produce a “rebellious” culture.22 Firstly. This assessment led to the development of at least three alternative proposals. This led. capitalist society must replace. nevertheless. whose logic is to conserve those who serve it. universities lost their selective function and became detached from their eternal corollary – that of social promotion. 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 was transformed. on the contrary. However. the fact it was provided with a new role is patent.not in France. which began to limit its resources. the solution was to exploit higher education’s lack of functionality. the university did not cease to exist. Despite this however. In Brazil.

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

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

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

university professors and highly qualified workers for bureaucratic businesses and states. is very different. the increasing introduction of postgraduate courses reinstates socio economic discrimination that is no longer marked in the degree itself. the significance of so-called massification. these shorter degree programs ensure a constant supply for higher education courses and justify the poor remuneration of their teaching faculty. In the long term. power and wage structures within the university itself.to the demands of a growing number of students. recuperating university education’s verticality. The introduction of shorter degrees in the sciences. 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. Its real goal however. regardless of the course taught. social sciences and communication studies caters – in the short term . It functions to contain the expansion of university teaching. to the system of credits awarded for classroom hours) is proof of this massification. Finally. this massification contains . Firstly. Its ostensible goal is the production of high-level researchers. which fosters discrimination within job market: the post graduate earns more and turns the undergraduate into a degraded student – a university peon. Outside of the university. This has led both to the disproportionate ratio between faculty and student numbers and also to the demise of high school education. This rather brief description of the university reform highlights at least two key aspects. it grants symbolic prestige. 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.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. whilst keeping consequential costs to a minimum by reducing their time spent in education. making it possible to control careers and by extension. 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. However. while ensuring that state spending to meet this new demand was proportionally low.

that is. Secondly. length. social sciences and communication studies in higher education colleges and in universities. from primary school through to university. it became an investment and therefore needed to generate social profit. laboratories) or faculty. The idea of security performs a clear ideological function. opening the university to the “masses. content. While the reform aimed to meet social demands for more higher education. education came under the auspices of the Ministry of Planning. power relations and dominant ideology. Following the university reform. and in high school in seminars focusing on Brazil’s problems. ideas that linked education to national security. education became a means of training workers for the market.27 an elitist notion of knowledge that tends to be obscured by analyses. Higher education (according to the liberal concept) functioned differently. which links education to security. that is. it is said to be equally beneficial for all. highlights the political dimension of teaching. frequently at play in primary and secondary school in classes dealing with citizenship and brasilidade. By emphasizing education as a key component of the nation’s economic development. The other two ideas underscore the economic dimension of education. Conceived as capital. In the past schools were privileged sites for reproducing class structures. to socially legitimize the idea of teaching and of education as capital. in the . to economic development and to national integration. also possess an ideological objective. the ideas of national economic development and integration. This explains the emphasis on professional or vocational courses in the sciences. quantity and quality of the entire educational process. were sustained by successive educational reforms. The first idea. whereas those of economic development and integration determine the form.” this was not matched by a proportional growth of the university’s infrastructures (libraries. Or rather. rather than the Ministry for Education. the latter became a mere appendage of the former. The University Profile Three of the key ideas that guided the reform of teaching in general and of the university in particular. because it was a cultural good that belonged only to the ruling classes. As well as highlighting the economic determinations of education. 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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

efficiency and productivity. 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. being physically present on campus (to reveal their service to the university).35 subjectivity. the belief that efficiency. Among teaching staff. productivity. it leads to a fascinated support for modernization and the criteria of output. seems unbelievable. or because we do not possess sufficient funds to transmit knowledge ourselves. theory and practice are open and inconclusive questions rather than pre-established solutions. quantitative criteria as an expression of qualitative work. To acquire and reproduce knowledge without creating. For many professors modernization. For those of us who do not adhere to this modernizing myth. may consider the construction of consciences and social relations. and may always be attentive to the problem of men’s power over others. the belief in the “redemption by work. this is not completely true. abandoning the point of view of the sovereign conscience. the acceptance of culture through the bias of instrumental reason. the emphasis on “the modern” seems to be an abdication of the very spirit of culture. The real must be transformed into a dead object to acquire university citizenship. subjectively. to a representation that is intellectually controlled and manipulated. the construction of theoretical models for practical and immediate application. Those who adhere to the myth of modernization have simply interiorized the supporting mechanisms of bourgeois ideology: objectively. credits. an emphasis on book publications. which is called class struggle. rigid deadlines for research. that is. objectivity. Returning to my initial observation.” in other words. Not because we are economically “dependent” or because technocracy devoured humanism. I would venture to say that we are not producers of culture. This situation produces a number of effects that is useful to examine. But. everything that enters the university has a right to be there and to remain there only if it is reduced to knowledge. but because the university is structured in such a way that its function is to provide knowledge in a way that impedes thinking. as well as benefiting . that is. meeting deadlines and obtaining credits. climbing the career ladder (defined bureaucratically). For many. the mind-set of colleagues who are excited about classroom hours. A way of thinking that. the job market. To consume rather than producing the work of reflection. To know in order to not think.

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

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

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

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

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. whose definition is in reality reduced to the right to private property. customs and territory. general interests over and above particular interests.” figuring. lose their symbolic character (meaning. 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). because of this. concealing the possibility of confronting it as social and historical. producing a social organization that disregards class divisions. therefore. the occasional revelation of the origins of power. which has a strong authoritarian tradition. Conflicts. Freedom is defined by the idea of independence. Freedom is reduced to a voice (opinion) and a vote.40 to participation in culture and power. the only thing that leads to non-dependence in relation to another being (accordingly. 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). and equality is reduced to the right to have a law in one’s favor and to possess representatives. The second is the objective face of the “community. which articulate the idea of the alternation of governments. not being conflicts of interest but conflicts of class. since during the electoral period the place of power is empty. liberal democracy always appears to be a great historical and political achievement. it is entirely understandable that. This contractual relation is seen as a juridical reality and. equality is defined as equality before the law. The first is the subjective expression of the “community” of origins. their control. In a country like Brazil. should not prevent us from comprehending a democratic possibility beyond the limits of liberalism. two entities should substitute the idea of a free and equal community: the Nation and the State. within in the university. In liberal democracy. cannot be worked through socially and are instead routinized by institutional bodies that facilitate their legal expression and. This however. dependents are not free). making democracy an exclusively political phenomenon. Equality therefore. whenever it has been periodically implanted. reducing this to the electoral moment. Because of this. Elections. Liberal democracy therefore reinforces the idea of citizenship as a right to representation. democratization remains locked within a liberal context. The idea of representation obscures that of participation. in an imaginary form. the moment of voting.

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

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

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

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

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

The Act closed the National Congress and shifted all power to the Executive.” 46 André Gorz. “O crescimento brasileiro e a experiência desenvolvimentista. 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.” Les Temps Modernes. 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. no. 285 (1970). Labor and Monopoly Capital. 20 (1988).” Revista Novos Estudos Cebrap. 48 Werner Baer. In the wake of this act. suggesting that the former reveals a concentration of politico-religious power. Ibid. “A reforma do ensino. 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. no.” (Elbein. 51 In an interview on Canal 2. a law that virtually wiped out the independent politics of the university system. 45 Harry Braverman. 8 (1977). 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. 49 Marilena Chauí. L’oeil et l’espirit (Paris: Gallimard. 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. no. and made illegal any type of political organization opposing the regime. 1.” Arte em Revista. “Destroy the University. 1964). the regime imposed Decree 477. enacted censorship. 50 TN: Darcy Ribeiro (1922-1997). 9.. 44 This term comes from the anti-project of the “Manifesto do CPC. 1974). However. . no. Protests and marches were prohibited and campuses strictly watched. meaning courses whose supply was greater than the labor market’s demand should be reduced.42 43 In her study of the Nagô of the Brazilian state of Bahia. See in particular the chapter “Productive and Unproductive Labor.” Revista Discurso.) The study of the theocratic policies clarifies the inseparability of the two forms of relating to power. 38. Brazilian anthropologist and also the first chancellor and enthusiastic supporter of the foundation of the University of Brasília in 1961. while those that had a higher demand could be increased. The Degradation of Work in the Twentieth Century (New York: Monthly Review Press. six on the right and six on the left of Iyaiaxê. It also suspended habeas corpus. 17. TV Cultura in São Paulo.

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