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Title: Progressive conservatism in Brazil : Oliveira Viana, Roberto Simonsen and the social legislation of the Vargas regime, 1930-1945
Author: Howes, Robert William
ISNI:       0000 0001 3582 8033
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 1976
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This thesis analyses the development of the ideas and theories of Oliveira Viana (1883-1951) and Roberto Simonsen (1889-1948), placing them in their historical context and showing how they illuminated and influenced contemporary trends in Brazilian thought and governmental policy, with particular emphasis on the social legislation passed by the Vargas regime between 1930 and 1945. The two theorists are characterised as progressive conservatives, since they aimed to preserve the existing hierarchical structure of society by adopting new, progressive methods. Both men advocated increasing the role of the state: Viana was particularly influential in the early 1930s in the area of political theory and institutional reform, whilst Simonsen, as an early proponent of economic development, came into his own in the late 1930s and early 1940s when the Estado Novo turned tentatively towards a policy of industrialisation. The Introduction gives a brief outline of Brazil's political and economic history up to 1945 and the intellectual currents of the 1910s and 1920s. Chapters 1 to 3 analyse Oliveira Viana's position as a social scientist and a political theorist, including an account of his critique of liberal democracy and its workings in Brazil, and his practical suggestions for political reform. Chapter 4 discusses the conservative motives which underlay Vargas's adoption of a policy of social legislation. Chapter 5 describes the evolution of Roberto Simonsen's ideas, showing how his theories on economic development were presented as a response to social unrest, while Chapter 6 analyses the development of his ideas on the need for industrialisation to serve the home market and the difficulties which he faced in having them accepted as official policy. Chapter 7 deals with Viana's ideas on the social question during his period as juridical consultant of the Ministry of Labour (1932- 1940), and the policy which he and other functionaries evolved towards Brazil's syndical structure. Chapters 8, 9 and 10 then give an account of the direct impact of Viana and Simonsen on three specific areas of social policy: the Labour Justice law and the reform of the syndical legislation in 1938-40, the minimum wage and industrial training. Finally, Chapters 11 and 12 describe Simonsen's ideas on economic planning and American aid.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral