Reconstructing the Brazilian Nation: Public Schooling in the Vargas Era

Nomos, 2007 - 518 páginas
Today, education is one of the weakest spheres of the public sector in Brazil. However, those who suggest a return to Getúlio Vargas's self-styled "social democracy" are misguided by the magnificent visions, impressive efforts to increase the State's cognitive capacity, and far-reaching social legislation of his era. Reconstructing the Brazilian Nation goes beyond the analysis of national debates and laws and explores the implementation of education policy from the national level to the regional, municipal, and individual school levels in two key states, Rio de Janeiro and Rio Grande do Sul. The book shows that Vargas's reforms were characterized by a technocratic modernization philosophy, a dualist concept of education, political indoctrination, and the aim of cultural and ethnic homogenization. Such a policy left little room for genuine inter-governmental co-operation and had no ear for critical educators and inspectors. Real progress was possible, but it resulted from remarkable grassroots initiatives, rather than from an increasing infrastructural power of the State. The population explosion and populist campaigns of the post-war period further undermined Vargas-era public policies.

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Jens R. Hentschke obtained his "Habilitation" ("livre-docê ncia") at Heidelberg University, Germany, and is Professor of Latin American History and Politics at the University of Newcastle, U.K. He is the author of "Estado Novo" (Saarbrü cken, 1996), "Positivism gaú cho-Style" (Berlin, 2004), and many articles and book chapters on 19th and 20th cc. Brazil.

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