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III. THE SOCIAL SCIENCES IN BRAZIL The social sciences are part and parcel of Brazilian intellectual life, even though they are unevenly developed. Prior to the early 1930's there was no university system as such. However, in the separate faculties or schools of law, medicine and engineering, some concepts of the social sciences were being introduced. With the establishing of the university system, courses in the social sciences were introduced. Considerable work was done in those early years of a social- historical nature, as well as reinterpretation of even earlier works of journalists and observers who became known as sociological pioneers. Certain of the more exotic elements of Brazilian culture were studied and described, such as Africanisms (cultism, foods, and dances). In the field of indigenous studies much work had been done by Brazilians, North Americans, Germans, French, and Italians. With the beginning of the university system, it was necessary for Brazil to import a number of teachers whose disciplines were part of a university system, but whose disciplines had heretofore not been a part of the Brazilian scene. This was particularly true in the social sciences. The major centers of activity, Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, received the collaboration of French, German, and North American professors in geography, economics, anthropology, and sociology. A nucleus of Brazilian students was formed in the thirties and forties. Many of these students took Ph.D.'s in the U.S. and in Europe. The best formed groups are probably found in sociology, anthropology, and in geography. Economics, political science, statistics, and modern history lag. At any rate, the social sciences have now made considerable prog- ress in Brazil. Most of these disciplines were introduced with applied, emphasis. For example (leaving aside the question of Indians), the first institution established, the Escola de Sociologia e Politica de SSo Paulo (School of Sociology and Political Science of Sao Paulo), was established in 1933 after the revolution which the state of Sao Paulo lost. The School was established for the specific purpose of teaching the social sciences and investigating the social milieu with a view to avoiding any repetition of that upheaval. 12
More recently, the social sciences (especially sociology and anthropology) have been called upon as basic instruments in research which has specific governmental ends in view. These include new edu- cational programs, health programs, and schemes of regional develop- ment. To understand what is happening to the social sciences in Brazil, â¢ it is necessary to know about the university system and its way of teach- ing those disciplines. For the most part, the social sciences are taught in the Faculties of Philosophy, which are a part of each state university. The same is true of the Catholic universities which are now forming. One of the primary purposes of the Faculties is to prepare secondary school teachers, and the curriculum is arranged to that end. The fresh- man entering the Faculty decides beforehand what his major field of in- terest is. He then takes an entrance examination which is especially designed for the four-year course offered in that specialty. For the student who has decided to follow social sciences (which are not taught in the secondary schools), there exists the curso de ciencias sociais (social science course), a four-year program which includes mathe- matics, sociology, political economy, philosophy, human geography, general and applied statistics, social psychology, anthropology, ethno- graphy, political science, and ethics. This has been one of the least successful courses in the university system. It attracts few students, and many of these are mediocre aca- demically. Since the social sciences are not taught in the secondary schools, there are no secondary school jobs available for the successful graduate. This area of study is not yet prestigeful. There is little true specialization of sociologists, political scientists, etc. Rather jacks-of- all-trades are the product. Under the university system as it now is, a professor is restricted to teaching a few basic courses in his disciplineâhow many times in each semester he teaches the same course depends on how many students there are and whether or not there is a night school as well as the daytime ses- sion. Under this system an anthropologist, for example, seldom teaches his own personal specialty. This has considerable impact on the pursuit of research work by Brazilian social scientists. Rather than synthesizing his field research, thinking, and teaching activities and thus benefiting both himself and his students, he must keep each separate. What suffers is field research. Furthermore the involved examination system at the beginning and end of the school year cuts down his vacation time when he might do research. Leave of absence for research is rare. Lack of funds for social research prevents the carrying out of actual field research 13
and consequently the teaching of up-to-date data and the stimulation of students. The university system thus tends to promote only biblio- graphic research. Although provisions for graduate work are incorporated in the regulations of the various faculties, in only one or two instances (Sao Paulo especially) has graduate work been pursued. A doutorado (doc- torate) is offered in a number of fields. This requires many years of work, especially reading, plus the writing and defending of a thesis. Few students active in the social sciences have been able to complete this lengthy and rigorous training. An intermediate step, corresponding roughly to the U.S. master's degree, is also provided, called especializacao. Again, as in the case of the doutorado this does not function in all the universities, due prin- cipally to shortage of teaching personnel. Like the doutorado, it tends to involve a highly personalized relationship between the pupil and pro- fessor. The teaching hierarchy in the faculties is as follows: each sub- ject or discipline taught has a cadeira (chair). The chair is held by a catedratico who corresponds roughly to the U.S. full professor. Accord- ing to law the catedratico is appointed for life tenure on the basis of a competitive examination which includes the writing of a dissertation as well as demonstrating teaching techniques. At the present time, many catedraticos in the Faculties of Philosophy are those who were originally appointed to their particular chairs when the universities were estab- lished in the 1930's and 1940's, and therefore did not undergo the above competitive requirement. Also many are catedraticos contratados, or simply hold a four year contract with the Faculty to teach a given sub- ject. It is presumed that an examination will be opened by the end of four years, which will allow the contratado to be examined and admitted to the chair for life. The catedratico, whether permanent or contracted, is the pro- fessor. He may be assisted by a number of persons. First in rank is the livre docente (free lecturer), who has acquired his doctorate but who has not entered competition for catedratico nor is a catedratico contratado. He is, however, entitled to the rank of professor. The next category is that of assistentes, or assistants. These may or may not have their doctorates. They hold a contract, frequently on a yearly basis. Until recently two other categories existedâthe auxiliares de ensino (teaching auxiliaries) and auxiliares de pesquisa (research 14
auxiliaries). In many cases, such as in the University of Sao Paulo, these individuals are contracted for. In many of the smaller universi- ties these people offer their services gratis in order to gain experience and also in the hope that a contracted assistantship will open for them. In many cases these individuals, who carry a full teaching load and are listed in the official catalogue, donate their services over a period of years. This practice is now being abolished. The hard core of working social scientists in Brazil has long rea- lized the inadequacy of the school system in relation to social science. In recent years an Instituto is frequently attached to one of the teaching chairs of a faculty. This creation gives considerably more leeway in training and research. It is possible for the active catedratico (full professor) to establish an institute linked to his chair and to receive funds from a number of different sources. Few or no federal rules govern the activities of an institute. Therefore, in a number of cases what amounts to graduate work can be offered in an instituto, which presents the graduate with a diploma of its own. This diploma, while of no value in the federal government's official recognition and registration of university degrees, shows at least that the course was completed. A still more recent development which has had considerable in- fluence on the social sciences in Brazil came about when a branch of the federal Ministry of Education wanted to carry out a long range pro- gram of social research throughout the entire nation to be used in edu- cational planning. The major obstacle to the carrying out of this work was finding qualified personnel to do the field work. Few or no people were available, and the universities were turning out poorly prepared graduates, incapable for the most part of undertaking work of this scope. Therefore a small center was set up to carry out a special training pro- gram in anthropology and sociology, with emphasis on field work. The Centro Brasileiro de Pesquisas Educacionais (Brazilian Center for Education Research) is supported by Brazilian funds with additional aid from UNESCO particularly in the form of technical aid (educators, psychologists, anthropologists and so on). This Centro is having a pro- found effect upon the social sciences and particularly upon sociology and anthropology in Brazil. The Centro has the best social science library in Brazil and by far the best trained personnel. Its major center is located in Rio de Janeiro. It has also established a number of regional centers in Belo Horizone, S5o Paulo, Porto Alegre, Bahia and Recife. These work under the basic orientation of the group in Rio. Well financed, this 15
organization has succeeded in employing most of Brazil's competent people in the social sciences, either full- or part-time. Moreover it has brought about a concentration of their efforts on situations and problems having to do basically with education, although this is broadly defined. Although the Centro tends to monopolize the productive energies of many of these people, theoretically preventing them from carrying out research in other fields, it has nevertheless been a tremendous stimu- lus to active research work. In spite of the advances made in the last thirty years, Brazilian social sciences have not succeeded in keeping up with other developments. The university system hinders the growth of the sciences because of the rigidity of teaching schedules and because of the nature of the li- brary system. Most of the libraries are divided into separate faculty libraries. This makes cross referencing difficult. Furthermore, the importation of books is almost beyond the financial means of most of the universities because of the adverse differential in the exchange rates between Brazilian currency and hard currencies. Little or no work in translation is going on so that this means of dissemination is cut off. Most Brazilian social scientists work in isolation, from each other and from other members of their faculties. This is due to factors in- herent in the university system as well as in the general social organiza- tion of Brazilian society. While there is a hard core of trained personnel in the social sciences very many of those called sociologists, for example, are self-taught in- dividuals whose backgrounds are primarily in the humanities and law, not in science. The continued growth of the universities, both state and Catholic, spreads out even more thinly the number of trained people available. This is part of the growth problem of Brazil. Many competent people are diverted into better paying activities than those that are offered by college teaching and scientific research, especially social science re- search. Smaller numbers of students are now being sent abroad for train- ing in the social sciences than previously and smaller numbers of foreign social scientists are being brought in. The cost of graduate training in any one of the social sciences in the U.S. is almost prohibitive for Bra- zil. Many Brazilians who started graduate training in the U.S. , but who did not finish, express dissatisfaction with sociology, or anthropology, 16
or whatever the discipline happens to be, and the way they get to exer- cise that discipline. Many of these people are incompletely trained professionally. Faced with the practical necessities of making a living in rather difficult fields, their professional work suffers. There are a number of glaring omissions in the development of the social sciences in Brazil. Little or no attention is given to rural sociology, to extension methods, and to community development in spite of the non-urban character of Brazil. Demographic studies are limited almost entirely to the Conselho Nacional de Estatistica (National Statistics Council). Linguistics also is lacking despite the abundance of indigenous languages and the variations of the modern languages found in Brazil. Archaeology and physical anthropology also are spotty. There is little modern development of political science or of modern history. There is lack in the field of economics, and as yet little or no work being done in behavioral theory. 17