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Contents
Brazilian Review of Social Sciences special issue n.1October 2000




VIEWING SOCIETY FROM THE PERIPHERY

Eunice Ribeiro Durham

Key words
Cultural values; Representations; State of São Paulo; Urban periphery; Public services.

The article examines the cultural values and representations of the dwellers of the urban periphery, covering three middle-sized cities in the State of São Paulo: São José dos Campos, Rio Claro and Marília. It relies on the results of a research carried out at CEBRAP in 1982, and it also draws much ethnographic information from other dispersed sources dealing with the city of São Paulo itself. The way people living at the periphery conceive their life in the city, their visions of the labor market, the way they see their own social progress or the social improvements available to them, as well as their images of public services and policies (from both the local and federal governments) are the main themes studied in the article. The thrust of the article is how the public and private realms emerge and interact in these people's “weltanschauung”.


EXCLUSION AND PUBLIC POLICIES: THEORETICAL DILEMMAS AND POLITICAL ALTERNATIVES

Alba Zaluar

Key words
Active citizenship; Reciprocity; Sociability; Urban violence; Solidarity.

The article discusses the consequences of the present pattern of urban violence on the sociability and policies in popular neighborhoods of Rio de Janeiro from the perspectives and political proposals put forth by the anti-utilitarian thought of some European social scientists. Initially, it discusses the suggestions for active citizenship or for social life participation in several ways and levels for the remaking of the nation state. Then, it analyses the ambiguities and paradoxes of reciprocity in order to reflect upon modern reciprocity as characterized by solidarity towards the stranger and by new amplified networks of social bonds that minimize violence. Finally, the exclusions and the shaken circuits of reciprocity in today's Brazil are considered in their relationship with the way in which crime is organized and how the new internal-classes divisions established themselves in Rio de Janeiro.


TOWARDS AN ETHNOGRAPHIC THEORY OF NATURE/CULTURE DISTINCTION IN JURUNA COSMOLOGY

Tânia Stolze Lima

Key words
Anthropological theory; Nature and culture; Tupi; Juruna; Animalism.

Considering that concepts such as anthropocentrism and animalism are inadequate for dealing with the relationship between humans and animals in the indigenous socio-cosmological systems, the article confronts the anthropological distinction between nature and culture with ethnographic materials taken from a Tupi society, the Juruna. The work attempts to show how the Juruna would disagree with anthropologists and that among them the distinction takes hold in a contra-hierarchical and perspectivist regime.


PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS: CENTRALITY, CONTEXT, AND IMPLICATIONS

Olavo Brasil de Lima Junior

Key words
Presidential elections; Electoral participation; Social base; Composition of electorate; Political integration.

The author argues that the conjugation of certain democratic, socioeconomic and political factors has led to the “nationalization” of presidential elections in Brazil since 1960. The expansion of the electoral market resulting from urbanization and the growth of the electorate, together with the progressive removal of the obstacles to voting — due to income, gender, age, and education — has democratized the electoral process by diversifying the social structure of the electorate. Since then, the president's election has ceased to depend solely upon rural political forces and now involves multiple combinations of rural and urban political forces. Candidates can no longer count on specific social groups in order to guarantee their election, and need to widen their appeal. Based on the results of the direct presidential elections of 1960, 1989, 1994 and 1998, the author contends that the “nationalization” of the vote is part of the political integration of Brazilian society and that this, together with the social complexity of the electorate, means that the candidate's appeal and political stance need to be more wide-ranging in order to prevent potential conflicts from arising during the election campaign.


CONSTITUTIONAL CHANGE, LEGISLATIVE PERFORMANCE AND INSTITUTIONAL CONSOLIDATION

Argelina Cheibub Figueiredo and Fernando Limongi

Key words
Constitutional change; Legislative performance; Legislative agenda; Executive/legislative relations;  Brazilian Congress.

The article examines the effects of changes in constitutional and internal legislative regulations on the performance of the House of Representatives in law making. It presents an analysis of the flow of bills in the Lower House and the legal output in the post 1988 Constitution period, showing, on the one hand, the importance of the executive in the definition of the legislative agenda and its preponderance in legislative outcomes and, on the other hand, the role of the college of leaders, to the detriment of the standing committees, in the organization of the legislative work. The authors argue, against the conventional wisdom on Brazilian politics, that the legislature cannot be viewed as an obstacle to executive action.


INDIVIDUAL PREFERENCES AND SOCIAL JUSTICE

Álvaro de Vita

Key words
John Harsanyi; Individual preferences; Social justice; Welfarism; Social welfare judgments.

The article examines John Harsanyi's influential account on welfarism, according to which the satisfaction of individual preferences ought to be seen as the ultimate foundation of our social welfare (or social justice) judgments. The author argues that welfarism provides a very defective morality and that we should strive to identify a non-subjective moral foundation to interpersonal comparison of well-being.


THE EDENIC MOTIF IN THE BRAZILIAN SOCIAL IMAGINARY

José Murilo de Carvalho

Key words
Edenism; Patriotism; Social imaginary; National identity; Political culture.

The author argues that an edenic view of the country prevail since the colonial times to the present, that is, a view of nature, its beauty, grandeur and wealth, as the major reason for national pride, above other reasons such as the character of the people and national history. He suggests that this view may be linked to an also persistent negative view of the people.


SECULARIZATION IN MAX WEBER. ON CURRENT USEFULNESS OF RE-ACCESSING THAT OLD MEANING

Antônio Flávio Pierucci

Key words
Secularization; Secularization of law; Disenchantment of the state; Max Weber; Sociology of religion; Sociology of law.

The author argues that the treatment of the secularization thesis by Brazilian empirical studies in sociology of religion is theoretically deficient. In the article, having regard to the empiricist and ill-advised celebration of recent religious ferments that are supposed to be turning our times into a “de-secularized” or “post-secularized” age, the author supports the claim for resetting the conceptual discussion. He suggests that it would be very useful to Brazilian sociology of religion to cope again with the old political-juridical meaning through which the problem of a socio-historical process of dessacralization was conceptualized, taking place above all in the sphere of political-juridical normativity. This is the meaning unfolded by Max Weber, considered the major proponent of the secularization theory, in his sociology of law.


DETERMINING FACTORS OF CRIMINALITY IN MINAS GERAIS

Claudio C. Beato F.

Key words
Violent criminality; Crime and rationality; Minas Gerais and criminality; Space and crime.

The article has a double aim. It first discusses an approach dealing with the spatial distribution of crime and its theoretical consequences. It is argued that this kind of approach allows us to make an analysis of rational and utilitarian components of crime. This is possible by focusing the attention on local incidences of crime instead of the characteristics of the criminals. Secondly, crime incidence in the 756 cities of Minas Gerais throughout the year of 1991 is analyzed using the theoretical approach mentioned. For that, empirical Bayes indexes are used.