Culture and underdevelopment in Brazil with particular reference to Mario de Andrade and Paulo Freire.
The overall objective of this thesis is to investigate the
relationship between culture and social structure in an 'underdeveloped'
country in the course of 'modernisation', 'industrialisation',
'capitalist development'. More specifically, the
thesis attempts to show how a particular development project beginning
in the 1920's/30's with the industrialisation of Brazil,
is linked to a process of emanCipation from economic, political
and cultural dependence a project in turn reflected in the work
of two major Brazilian intellectuals, whose work I argue, constitutes
an attempt to create a theory of cultural emanCipation
for Brazil. As such, the thesis is also a discussion of what I
regard as a new discourse on Culture, emerging in Latin America
and its critique of the separation of culture and society and of
the 'Civilising rationality' of 'Western culture'.
Mario de Andrade was a modernist writer, critic, pedagogue,
ethnographer and head of the Government Department of Culture in
Sao Paulo in the 1930's. As one of the most controversial intellectuals
of the period 1920-45, he explored and theorised the
central issues around which the discussion on Culture and Society
in Brazil was to revolve: .
1. the problem of national identity and dependence.
2. the relationship between the intellectuals and 'the people'.
3. the relationship between high and popular culture.
4. the relationship between tradition and modernity.
Related themes are taken up by the pedagogue Paulo Freire, working
1n the Northeast of Brazil in the 1950's - 1960's, (at a
different yet related conjuncture to the 1930's) with the Movement
for Popular Culture and later with the State in the development
of an adult literacy campaign at national level:
1. the theory of education and culture as a 'practice of
2. the relationship between language, consciousness and power
developed in the adult literacy method.
3. the function of a 'critical consciousness' in the process
4. the redefinition of culture and development.
Theoretically the thesis is grounded in a conception of development
and underdevelopment as partial interdependent phenomena of
a global world system, and it draws on the Critical Theory of
the Frankfurt School and Gramsci's concept of the intellectual,
hegemony and the 'national-popular'.