black modernities

Image_Elyeser Szturm


Excerpt, selected by the author, from the newly released book.

Blacks in search of citizenship1

If in Europe being born in a given territory and sharing certain cultural traits, such as a common language, were the first conditions for the generalization of citizenship within nation-states, in the Americas ethnicities and, later, their rationalization and perception as races, became justifications to guarantee the denial of these citizenship rights and allow the continuation of slavery or servility as a mode of production and as a work relationship. Here, as I developed in chapter 2, social solidarity, that is, the open promise of racial and ethnic integration through acculturation, replaced the ideal of social equality for the masses, once slavery was abolished and the republic was instituted as a form of government. .

We also saw that the process of building citizenship in American countries went through two stages: first, the abolition of slavery; second, the construction of a national feeling that included its entire population. Only in this way could civil, political and social rights be generalized to a national body, whether or not it was multicultural.

the social classes2 are fundamental in modern societies because in the latter there are no longer institutionalized collectives that monopolize privileges, as in antiquity or the Middle Ages. In modern societies, any and all collective mobilization, closure of opportunities or monopolization of resources must be organized by individuals who act freely, as equals, in markets. Classes, as collectives, are formed and dismantled depending on political conjunctures, but, as structures, they are permanent, since the organization of social collectives is given by the socioeconomic structure and the functioning of markets.

Seen as a possibility of access to the goods and services market, classes act permanently, by defining individual chances through the possession of capital and its markers (Bourdieu, 1979). Ownership of financial assets and real estate, mastery of the cultured norm of the mother tongue, universal languages, codes of erudite culture, possession of scientific knowledge and school credentials, etc. they constitute, therefore, permanent elements of social classification and distinction that relativize the equalization of individuals into citizens.

In the Americas, social classes have historically followed a profile very similar to that of the peoples who are found here (and mix with each other) and who are referred to as races. Miscegenation can confuse these boundaries or accentuate them (Munanga, 1999). What is decisive for this classificatory game is the way in which citizenship is constituted, that is, the equality of rights among the individuals that make up the nation. How are social hierarchies maintained and reproduced in the republican ideological context?

I follow here, in a way, the suggestions of Dumont (1960), developed for Brazil by Da Matta (1990), according to which the maintenance of a certain social hierarchy prevented the explicit development of a rigid racial hierarchy among us, that is, the sub-citizenship of most blacks and mestizos for a long time prevented the racial roots of the social hierarchy from being visible.

The mobilization of black Brazilians in search of expanding their citizenship, through different historical periods, used recurrent rhetorical elements. Let's see.

In Brazil, as in other parts of the Americas, the abolition process provided a wave of erudite, pseudo-scientific reflection around the concept of race, the result of which was to create justifications for the continued social inequality between Europeans and non-Europeans. the former claimed citizenship equality and political rights for themselves, while subordinate positions were reserved for the latter. As Dumont (1960) well observed, modern American societies elected racism as a natural justification for the social hierarchy that would remain in the liberal republics.

Unlike what happened in the United States, however, race in Brazil did not create insurmountable obstacles for individuals, especially mestizos. Several explanations were given for this difference, which is not the place to review here. The fact is that the most ancient notion of “color”, around which, in Europe, since Antiquity, peoples and individuals were differentiated, continued to have more importance than pseudoscientific explanations based on race. Even though color classifications had undergone a kind of erudite racist reinterpretation and remained henceforth with such a substratum, neither a bipolar racial classification nor a bipolar racial classification emerged in Brazil, nor did precise classification rules emerge (Harris, 1956). The circumstances and social situations would allow the manipulation of color classifications (Azevedo, 1963).

Such a development was in homology with the demographic and political impossibility of creating an all-white nation, by which I mean a nation with only descendants of non-mixed Europeans and recent immigrants. The demographic impossibility lay in Brazil's low attractiveness for European immigration flows at the end of the XNUMXth and beginning of the XNUMXth centuries; the political impossibility resided in the social and economic centrality that gained part of the Brazilian population of mestizo origin, who declared themselves white.

Here, it is perhaps worth resuming, albeit briefly, the differences in the racial classification systems in force in the United States, Europe and Brazil, in order to avoid misunderstandings and excessive polysemy. The US system uses the rule of hypodescent, that is, descent traced from the socially inferior spouse, to draw the boundaries of racial groups, which are openly referred to as races. The contemporary European system, since the end of the Second World War, rejects the term “race” and classifies individuals, either in cultural terms, ethnicities themselves, or from the skin color, without reference to biological descent.

The Brazilian system also rejected the term “race” until recently, preferring “color”, and also does not have a clear rule of classification by descent, but uses other body marks, such as hair, shape of the nose and lips, to classify individuals into groups. If the term “race” was taboo until recently, today the pair “race/color” is commonly used in censuses and opinion polls, as well as in everyday life they are used as interchangeable terms. It can therefore be said, roughly, that the American system is the most closed of all, since it precisely delimits the groups of descent; the European system is a little more open, since the single criterion of skin color allows for greater transit between groups, even though the category of “dark” skin can give rise to a kind of racial purgatory; finally, it can be said that the Brazilian system, using a plurality of physical marks, enables the formation of various racial groups between white and black.

For this very reason, this is the system that can treat racial mixing as a process, as it is the only one that has the elements to demarcate the stages of such a transformation. In fact, the young republican nation would adopt, at the height of the intellectual fashion for racism, the discourse of the gradual whitening of its entire population, promoting immigration and accepting miscegenation as something necessary and virtuous (Skidmore, 1974; Ventura, 1991; Schwarcz , 1993).

But the belief in whitening was just one of the possibilities opened up by the ideological matrix that shaped the birth of the young South American nation. This matrix is ​​enunciated for the first time, in an erudite manner, in the Second Empire, by Carl Friedrich Von Martius, in an 1838 essay for the Brazilian Historical and Geographical Institute. Von Martius draws attention to the fact that the history of Brazil should be written taking into account that its people would be formed by the mixture of three races – “the copper or American, the white or Caucasian, the black or Ethiopian” ( Von Martius, [1838] 1956, p. 42).

Three possible variants of this matrix had important consequences for black racial formation in Brazil: whitening, mulattoism and blackness.

The whitening of the Brazilian population appears as a corollary of the superiority of the white race and of European civilization, but as a denial of racist theories that theorized miscegenation as degeneration. It constitutes, therefore, the first vertex of the matrix enunciated by Von Martius, when he preached not only that the conquering people would impose their language and their civilization, but also their attributes and racial qualities on the colonized peoples.

Perhaps the best-finished version of this optimistic version of whitening can be found in the thesis presented by João Baptista de Lacerda (1911) to the Congress of the Universal of Races, in London, in 1911. According to this formulation, the black race would be gradually absorbed through miscegenation , generating a stock of eugenic mulattoes, as well as, finally, through successive interbreeding, the latter would also end up being incorporated into the white group. It is important to note, however, some other versions of the same thesis: a more pessimistic one – which understood that it was necessary to replace the black race, via the intensification of European emigration, expulsion of freed Africans and greater natural mortality of the black race – and another, more optimistic one – which saw whitening as a more general process, which included not only miscegenation, but also the acculturation and social assimilation of blacks and indigenous peoples into Luso-Brazilian culture. In its three variants, whitening is a long-lasting ideology that limits the advances of citizenship in Brazil.

The second variant appears as a more radical development and more in tune with Von Martius' racialist proposal. In this variant, as a result of miscegenation between indigenous people, whites and blacks, a meta-race was formed in Brazil. The construction of the imaginary of a mestizo nation, which would include all free individuals, was intensified by the abolitionist movement, and deepened during the republican period. this formulation perhaps constitutes the most refined vein of Brazilian social thought, and finds its exponents, in terms of enunciation, in Joaquim Nabuco and Gilberto Freyre.

According to this thought, freedom, conquered by the abolition of slavery, is immediately transmuted into citizenship, in the absence of racial prejudice. The remaining social inequalities start to be anchored in the economic and cultural order of the social classes. It is up to the state to incorporate and regulate, through social policies, citizens' access to the full enjoyment of their rights, and thus promote justice, education, health and social security for all. The State is the only civilizing entity that promotes social harmony (Vianna and Carvalho, 2000). There is no place, in this thought, for Marshall's theory of the development of citizenship through the conquest of rights.

This variant of the von Martian matrix would be called mulattoism by some intellectuals, that is, a way of conceiving the Brazilian nation according to which the mulatto would be the typical Brazilian, rather than the white person who came from European emigration or from mixing with Portuguese descendants. This type of characterization was present in the writings of many intellectuals from São Paulo in the 1930s and 1940s (Duarte, 1947; Bastide, 1961). As one can imagine, underlying the accusation of mulattoism is the belief in the leading role that European culture – and not Afro-Indo-Luso-Brazilian culture – should play over the Brazilian nation.

Finally, the third variant is Brazilian blackness (Bastide, 1961a; Munanga, 1986). Despite being very influential in the black milieu, and perhaps pour cause, this variant did not find great appeal in intellectual circles, being almost restricted to the statement by Guerreiro Ramos (1957). Negritude, as Bastide well characterized it, consists of a radicalization of mulattoism, by seeing all Afro-descendants as black and proposing that, in Brazil, the people are black; that is, according to this statement, it makes no sense to think of blacks as a separate ethnic group, since they are the demographic mainstay of nationality. In turn, the designation of the people as black, and not mulatto ou mixed race, purposely consists in the search to value the most stigmatized element of the national formation, reversing the European colonialist vision, introjected by the national elites, of Brazil as a white country and of its culture as an extension of the Portuguese one.

It is these three aspects – whitening, mulattoism and blackness – that delimit the racial-ideological space in which some black discursive strategies thrive in the struggle for the expansion of citizenship.

Black rhetoric and the recurrence of its discursive themes

Four rhetorics of inclusion can be distinguished in this long period of black mobilization. The first of these was characterized by Bastide (1983a: 150) as Puritanism. It deals with the discourse on morality – behaviors, attitudes and values ​​– suitable for coexistence in bourgeois society. Bastide said he preferred to call it that "because morality is essentially subjective, while Puritanism pays attention first of all to what is seen, to external manifestations and which can classify a being within a group". However, and to be more precise, it is a discourse on the proper morality for the social integration of blacks into the urban middle classes in a society in which discrimination based on race or color was not legally permitted, the situation of inferiority and the black's social subalternity could not be regulated only through it; on the contrary, when such discrimination did occur, it would have to be discreet and preferably attributable to the operation of social classification mechanisms.

It was, therefore, through the mechanisms of formation and reproduction of classes – formal schooling, good manners, morals, religion, mastering a cultured language, etc. – that social discrimination could be more efficiently exercised and, more than that, that blacks could spontaneously reproduce as a class (Hasenbalg, 1979). Therein lies the wisdom of the black press at the time in naming the black population the “class of colored men” before adopting the designation “black race”.

Puritanism, therefore, was the first attempt, after abolitionism – that is, after the conquest of formal citizenship – to expand the effective rights of black people through a communitarian form of solidarity: racial solidarity, which, as we have seen, displaces them. gradually from color to race, as racist political ideologies such as fascism advance in Brazil. Therefore, anyone who sees in Puritanism a simple introjection by the black middle class of the ideology of whitening is wrong. The rejection of Pan-Africanism, as well as of the Afro-Brazilian cultural practices that thrive in black popular circles, must be read as a framework for the logic of identification and reproduction of classes, as a denial and attempt to deconstruct the habitus class of the popular strata.

It is clear, however, that one of the assumptions of Puritanism is the prevalence of ideas about African cultural practices and their Brazilian ramifications, considered inferior. However, it is convenient to draw attention to the fact that the codes of European high culture – expressed in the ways of dressing, speaking or behaving – remain as markers of distinction for the upper classes, even when the so-called “black culture” becomes accepted in its entirety.

Puritanism is a strategy of raising the social status of a group through the formation of a racial community – that is, of a common racial origin – through the exercise of solidarity and leadership. Some of the discursive themes (which North American sociologists call frames) that appear in the rhetoric of puritanism were borrowed from the abolitionist movement and would reappear in all black mobilizations of the twentieth century: the colonizing role of the black in Brazil, the black as a creator of national wealth, the talent of the mulatto, the mestizo as the more Brazilian type (we are all mestizos, even the Portuguese), Abolition as abandonment and lack of protection, the absence of racial prejudice in Brazil, but the continuity of color prejudice.

By the time the puritanism of the Frente Negra Brasileira reached its peak, in 1937, this was already, however, a moldy discourse. This is because, since the 1920s, Brazilian modernists have found inspiration for their vanguardism in black and mixed-race popular culture, seeking the soul of Brazil there. Popular celebrations, dances, folklore, all these manifestations served as a reference for the construction of a new aesthetics of authenticity, which emerged in the wake of European artistic movements, which, from Dadaism to Surrealism, discovered primitive, African and Oriental art. Such a discovery, in Brazil, went hand in hand with the study of Africanisms by cultural anthropology (Ramos, 1937; Herskovits, 1943), mainly of the Jejes-Nagôs candomblés, which transformed Bahia, first into a laboratory, then into a kind of black Rome (Lima, 1964), place of spiritual origin for the reconstruction of African traditions in Brazil.

All the strength of the modernist artistic and spiritual renaissance had enormous consequences for black claiming discourses: it nuanced their class project, based on petty-bourgeois and European status markers, at that point (1920s and 1930s) already under the criticism of inauthenticity, brandished by the artistic and intellectual vanguards. Two other themes would be added, therefore, in the 1940s, to the black rhetoric: the people, in Brazil, are black; and the color, simple appearance. They would be activated, mainly, in the discourse of racial democracy, which would come to dominate the cultural and ideological policy of the Estado Novo.

I have already referred to racial democracy before, but it is necessary here, synthetically, to return to its origins and specify its black aspect. The origins of the ideas contained there have diverse sources, some erudite, others popular, brought together under the deepest political motivation that animated it. The erudite source can be found in the Hispanic inspiration (Diaz Quiñones, 2006), which took hold of Latin American intellectuals at the beginning of the 2015th century, in search of the specificity of the Iberian civilization, whether in terms of its contacts with other peoples, or of the their way of governing, or their culture. The popular source comes from the abolitionist campaign, which led to a social movement of a certain strength when it took to the streets (Alonso, 2005), but which would have its greatest intellectual legitimacy in the writings of Castro Alves, Rui Barbosa and Joaquim Nabuco. The political source can be found in several intellectuals, some more racialist, like Cassiano Ricardo (Campos, XNUMX), others more culturalist, like Arthur Ramos or Gilberto Freyre.

Oliveira Lima (1911) already found the argument, later taken up by Gilberto Freyre (1933, 1936),3 that, in Colonial Brazil, the Portuguese aristocracy was much more open to contact with the popular classes, often incorporating not only bastards, but talented pardos, “black blood not constituting an insurmountable obstacle, not even to the mercy and royal graces” (Oliveira Lima, 1922: 32). This democracy that Oliveira Lima talks about, that is, the lack of rigidity in classifying classes or races, would be raised by Freyre to the uniqueness of Portuguese colonization, the embryo of a social and ethnic democracy, deeper and more humane than Anglo liberal democracy. -Saxon or French, since it would allow the incorporation and social mobility of different races in the new nations arising from European expansion. Such singularity of democracy in Portuguese America would also be called racial democracy by others, such as Cassiano Ricardo; however, in this as in other authors, the conception of an authoritarian democracy, based on a clear hierarchy under European or white command, is kept intact, as announced in 1838 by Von Martius.

The sympathy aroused by Big House & Senzala is precisely that, in him, the racial hierarchy gives way to what Benzaquen de Araújo (1994) called “balanced antagonisms”, that is, it is the power relations between masters and slaves, men and women, adults and children, that determine the social hierarchy and not the races. Gilberto Freyre would find space to fully incorporate the popular variant of racial democracy, that is, the one in which the eugenic black and mulatto become the matrix of the future nation. In this popular reading, to which Freyre lends the charm of his prose, miscegenation submerges the hierarchy, letting it show only in certain aesthetic or cultural preferences.

Such a racial democracy would be an authentically Brazilian one, for which a strong state would be required to regulate social relations, so that private potentates would not succumb to the temptation to transform racial and cultural differences into solid hierarchies. Only class differences could be recognized and mediated by the state, and regulated by extensive legislation. Against the petrification of racial and class diversity, the State should act sovereignly, above the citizens. It was this ideal of democracy, whose core is not found in individual rights, but in the non-existence of barriers of color to the social mobility of individuals, and whose legitimacy is taken not from the utopia of the free individual, bearer of rights, but from the non-existence of collectives whose characteristics assigned to guarantee them privileges, which also met popular and black desires, those who maintained the banner of the Second Abolition.

Thus, paradoxically, the racial hierarchy openly defended by the Brazilian elites as racism, or assimilated under the milder form of the representation of a mestizo nation led by white or European cultural heritage, does not disappear. It becomes submerged in a regulated order of social classes. In this new hierarchy, as it could not be otherwise, the physical, racial and cultural marks of the dominant classes are insinuated as preferences. The eugenic black becomes moreno, the beauty, in divine grace; racial conflict transmutes into social conflict.

To exemplify with a very popular song by Adelino Moreira, from 1959, the dream of an impossible love between a black man and a white woman is lamented as follows: “I shouldn’t [dream] and for that I condemn myself/ Being from the hills and moreno/ Loving the goddess of the asphalt”. No one knows for sure what color the lover and beloved really were, but it is known, yes, that the sad union slides into “black solitude”. The conflict shifts, as we can see, and gains expression through another hierarchy. Likewise, in the songbook of the time, the “cabrocha”, the “morena” and the “mulata” became the most exalted female figures (Gonzalez, 1984). Alongside this, Bahia, which had been portrayed by Von Martius as the most Portuguese of Brazilian cities,4 and who had been characterized as the “old mulata” in the First Republic, became associated, from the Estado Novo onwards, with the Afro-Brazilian mystique, as a land of magic and spell, sung in sambas-exaltação, along with Rio de Janeiro. Janeiro and the hills of Rio.

For black intellectuals who embrace the ideal of racial democracy, however, it is important to stress that they do so, as we have seen, by re-signifying the negritude movement and replacing Pan-Africanism with anti-colonialist nationalism. The polysemy of terms such as “racial democracy”, “blackness” and “Afro-Brazilian culture” must be highlighted (Munanga, 1986). For blacks, the first expression meant their integration into a social order without racial barriers; the second was a form of patriotism that accentuated the black color of the Brazilian people; the third highlighted Brazil's syncretized and hybrid culture (Bastide, 1976).

To reach our days – when Bahia is openly characterized as a black city, the term “race” is introduced in demographic censuses, and multiculturalism and racial egalitarianism are dominant doctrines in black political and cultural organizations –, it is necessary to understand how certain signs of ethnic identity were appropriated by black elites and how citizens' rights became central to the definition of democracy.

Roger Bastide, who already provided the key to understanding black puritanism and Brazilian blackness, can offer yet another key to understanding the emergence of ethnic identity in the 1970s. According to him, the advance of Afro-Brazilian religions in the South and Southeast of the country , the decolonization of Africa and the consequent emergence of a black African elite with international circulation, as well as the growth and autonomy of a mulatto middle class not incorporated into the elites as socially white, make Brazilian blackness no longer refer only to aspects physical and racial characteristics of blacks to highlight their authenticity and cultural uniqueness as Afro-Brazilians.5 For Bastide, the social bases for the acceptance and adaptation of theories that would circulate internationally with greater intensity in the following decades, such as multiculturalism and multiracialism, would have been settled in Brazil by the “economic miracle”, as the intense Brazilian economic growth of the 1970s became known. XNUMX.

From that same period, I would add, also dates the great shift of the Brazilian political intelligentsia – left and right –, which rejected the old aspiration for an authentically local democracy and turned to the criticism of the historical insufficiency of the guarantees to human rights and the citizen. Thus, the way was opened for racial inequalities in the country to be denounced as genocide of the black people, echoing the famous petition presented by Paul Robeson and William L. Patterson (1970) to the General Assembly of the United Nations (UN). in 1951. Abdias do Nascimento (1978) voiced the cry, who led the movement for racial democracy and blackness in the 1940s (Munanga, 1986; Bacelar, 1989).

Nothing is more understandable, therefore, than the rejection of attempts to restrict democracy to any of its aspects. The military dictatorship had been installed in the country since 1964, camouflaged under the appearance of representative democracy, maintaining the Legislative and the Judiciary as autonomous powers, remaking the party political system and the Constitution, but intervening and limiting such powers in a way and following the best practices. The dictatorship thus followed a long authoritarian tradition, which had already borne fruit in the First and Second Republics, and served as an inspiration to Vargas, establishing a kind of imperial moderating power in the Presidency. In the fight for the redemocratization of the country, therefore, the oppositions were forced to radicalize their conception of democracy (Weffort, 1992): they made a historical critique of Brazilian society and politics, repudiated any kind of exceptionalism or singularity in this matter, and advocated for a radical defense of civil liberties and the rights of the individual and the human being.

Black egalitarianism, therefore, was the result of a maturation of congruent demands: the flag of struggle “for an authentic racial democracy” (MNU, 1982) was abandoned and demands were adopted for recognition of its cultural particularity and for affirmative actions that to establish greater parity of opportunities between whites and blacks.

The Citizenship of Blacks

I will briefly summarize my arguments, explaining some underlying threads and a periodization that were implicit. Vianna and Carvalho (2000), in a seminal article, resumed a thesis dear to Oliveira Vianna (1923), to insist on the central role that the state played in the Brazilian civilizing process, advancing and guaranteeing rights and freedoms against the opposition of the dominant classes, and with the diffuse or amorphous support of the masses and dominated classes. It was like that in Abolition, it was like that in the Estado Novo. José Murilo de Carvalho (2002), in his history of citizenship in Brazil, demonstrated how such protagonism of the State ensured that social rights were guaranteed for the urban layers, even before political and civil liberties were fully developed. This process was called by Wanderley Guilherme dos Santos (1979) “regulated citizenship”.

As I tried to explain above, albeit briefly, there were three moments of rupture with the established racial order, sometimes with the state playing a greater role, but with greater social mobilization in recent decades, in which black Brazilians saw their rights to citizenship respected .

Undoubtedly, the initial moment was the conquest of individual freedom, because with the end of slavery, the disjunction between being black and being subject to the restriction of individual freedom became definitively generalized. But the freedom thus conquered did not translate, as we have seen, into active political citizenship; it only triggered the process of national construction, in which such individuals were subjects (Garcia, 1986), rather than subjects.

The First Republic well represented this era in which two citizenship logics competed. On the one hand, the republican civilizing wave, limited to the upper and wealthy classes, which, from a cultural point of view, meant the Europeanization of Brazil (Freyre, 1936) and the consequent denial of the African heritage; in a downward movement came pseudoscientific racism and the temptation to whiten the nation, as well as the petty-bourgeois black response, which, in search of social inclusion and respectability, broke into black puritanism.

On the other hand, in an upward movement, the appreciation of popular manifestations, primitive arts, folklore, and African cultural heritage took place in intellectual and artistic circles. The breaking of this wave was multiple: modernism, the ideal of the mestizo nation, the Afro-Brazilian rhetoric. What was once seen as African and foreign is now thematized as Afro-Brazilian or simply Brazilian. Instead of accepting differences and proposing equality between inheritances, they opted for hybridity and the coexistence and tolerance of inequalities.

The following period began with the 1930 revolution and continued with the Estado Novo. The achievement of recognition of the cultural legacy of the black race was joined by the social rights of urban workers. During this period, political and cultural commitments were forged that would be expressed in the ideal of racial democracy: regulated citizenship, nationalization of ethnic and racial cultures, refusal of racism. But the Second Republic, despite restoring political freedoms, did not generalize or deepen them. Work in the rural world, on large properties, continues to be governed by forms of personal subjection and violence inherited from slavery (Garcia, 1986).

From the point of view of blacks, any advance in terms of political or social rights was made only in class struggles. The renunciation of ethnic or cultural uniqueness was explicit, although its assertion is less and less disqualifying. There was formation of classes, but not formation of races. In any case, the idea that the Brazilian people are black or mestizo is widespread among the left.

The period after 1990 is the first in which the authoritarian assumptions of racial democracy, which sought harmony without consolidating the political order and equalizing the social distribution of wealth and opportunities, are rejected. Social movements become the main protagonist, even though the state remains central, as distributor and donor. It is in this order – of guaranteeing individual and collective rights – that the recognition of ethnic uniqueness and respect for racial equality flourish. Only apparently paradoxically, the affirmation of the racial collective serves to deepen equality among citizens. The reason seems to be that inequalities now need to gain a name (color, gender, race, sexual orientation) in order to be fought.

Let us see, in the next chapter, how these libertarian ideas, which emerged in the struggle against racism and colonialism, gained expression and permeated the social and political scene, with increasing strength from the second half of the 1960s onwards.

*Antonio Sérgio Alfredo Guimarães is a retired senior professor at the Department of Sociology at USP. Author, among other books, of Classes, races and democracy (Publisher 34).


Antonio Sergio Alfredo Guimaraes. black modernities. São Paulo, Publisher 34, 2021, 296 pages.


1 Chapter 6 of black modernities.

2 As we saw in Chapter 1, for an important tradition of sociology it makes no sense to speak of social classes before the Modern age. Weber, for example, reserves the concept for societies in which markets are formed, that is, in which individuals interact freely. The Marxist tradition, on the contrary, uses the term for all historical periods, as it is interested in explaining how political collectives are formed based on the general theory that the phenomenal level of social relations is determined by foundations of economic structure, that is, by the objective position of the subjects in a given social formation.

3 Oliveira Lima's influence on Gilberto Freyre was analyzed by Gomes (2001).

4 Rodrigues observes, when commenting on the Trip to Brazil, by Von Martius, that Bahia was the Brazilian province where one could notice “a greater attachment to Portugal and to the conservation of Portuguese laws and practices”. Von Martius also noted “the expeditious commercial activity of the Bahian, practical, solid” (Von Martius, [1838] 1956: 437).

5 "elle ne peut donc accepter une 'négritude' d'ordre purement physique, sa negritude ne peut être désormais que culturelle — et j'ajoute: ce qui la définit et rend les deux mouvements d'incorporation nationale et d'authenticité, cohérents entre eux , non pas celle d'une identité culturelle 'africaine', mais d'une identité résolument 'afro-brésilienne'” (Bastide, 1976: 27).

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