Eventos Académicos, 39 ISCHE. Educación y emancipación

Tamaño de fuente: 
School, Psychology and Democracy in the Pedagogical Discourses of the 1930’s and 1940’s
Ana Laura Godinho Lima

Última modificación: 2017-07-17


This paper intends to characterize the relations between school, psychology and democracy in discourses of psychology and education published in Brazil in the 1930s and 1940s, a period of intense dissemination of the New School principles. Presents partial results of the research The Psychology taught to teachers: an analysis of the discourses addressed to teachers in training, funded by FAPESP. It takes as its nuclear sources the book Introduction to the Study of the New School (1930), by Lourenço Filho, professor of psychology at the Normal School of São Paulo; The Manifesto of the Pioneers of New Education, written in 1932 by Fernando de Azevedo, professor of sociology at the same institution and signed by several prestigious intellectuals at the time; and the articles "How can school contribute to the formation of democratic attitudes" (1944) and "Characteristics Profiles as an element of democratic education" (1945) by Helena Antipoff, a Russian psychologist who taught psychology at the School of Improvement of teachers in Belo Horizonte. The analysis is based in Michel Foucault's writings on discourse analysis and governmentality and Nikolas Rose on the associations between psychology and democracy. It intends to contribute to the characterization of the connections between psychology and democracy in the educational discourses of the period, which have not yet been object of a more detailed analysis in the history of education in Brazil.

In the text "Social Psychology as a Science of Democracy", Nikolas Rose observes that the word democracy is recurrent in the discourses of psychology in the decades of 1930 to 1950. He understands that the association between psychology and democracy in this period is linked to a concern to replace within various organizations, the exercise of arbitrary authority by democratic government, that is, a mode of government that does not impose itself on individual freedoms but is based on a rational knowledge of the governed individuals or populations. Social Psychology presents itself as a set of knowledges, professionals, techniques and modes of judgment that can guide the actions of the government, which becomes based on objective knowledge about the people governed.

In the discourses of pedagogy considered here, psychology is associated with democracy as the science that, by revealing the truth about child development and individual differences, can guide teachers on how to govern children in the most appropriate way. It is understood that psychology, by creating techniques for the identification of students' capabilities, through psychological tests and other resources, allows them to be guided to the most suitable vocational training, in order to promote the best possible adjustment between personal inclinations and social positions. In addition, knowledge of psychology about child development recommends that teachers renounce the imposition of their authority over students if they wish to make them autonomous and capable of self-government. According to the educator Lourenço Filho, "Instead of external authority, the gathering of conditions that allow each individual to develop internal authority: all education must be self-education" (69)