Eventos Académicos, 39 ISCHE. Educación y emancipación

Tamaño de fuente: 
Useful to Themselves and to The Motherland": Education and Modernization of Brazil in the 19th Century
Carla Simone Chamon

Última modificación: 2017-07-17


In Brazil and in Latin America, building the post-independence national states seemed impossible without an educational policy that would incorporate larger amounts of people into the so-called “civilization”. Hence, throughout the nineteenth century, education had become the key to social development and to the rise of the civilized man, both individual and citizen, autonomous and socialized. But, from de years 1850, the thought that it would also be necessary to form useful and productive men to join the concert of civilized nations, started to earn adepts in Brazil. In that moment, the discussion already undergoing in Europe and in the United States about the need to form workforce to new sectors of economy, had intensified in Brazil, driven by the advance of the industrial capitalism and by gradually replacement of free labor to the slave labor, putting in agenda the workers qualification to deal with new techniques, tools, machines, and to enter into new work environment. Gradually, intellectuals and State agents started to point out the need to implement schools, designed for popular classes, that would offer learning about agricultural, industrial and commercial skills, creating citizens “useful to themselves and the motherland”, as a condition to ensure modernization and development of the Brazilian society. It was about professionally empowering the worker, promoting his identification with the industrial capitalism work values, changing the work culture, strongly stained in Brazil by the slavery stigma. In this context, Tarquinio de Souza Filho (1859-1909) wrote “The technical education in Brazil” (1887), defending it as a modernization vector of the country. Rooted in the perception of time as a mobile category, in constant advance towards the new, and criticizing the classical-literary character of the Brazilian secondary education, he defended the diffusion of the technical education as a need of the modern society, marked by democratic tendencies, economical progresses and popularization of science and of useful knowledge. Our goal is to analyze the author's ideas, understanding the arguments held by him, as well as the construction of expectation of modern that his thought conveyed. Graduated in the Recife's Law School, Souza Filho acted in the Brazilian press and devoted himself to advocacy and teaching in Rio de Janeiro, starting in 1880. In 1887, he became member of the Central Immigration Society, an association that defended free labor, and the modernization of Brazil's economic, political and social structures. Sharing the principles of this Society and tuned to the innovative ideas and experience of other countries around the world, the author pointed out the absence of technical schools in Brazil and defended its implementation as a condition to ennoble labor, promote progress, democracy and the Brazilian economic independence. Having as methodological reference the intellectual contextualization defended by Skinner and the categories of “field of experience” and “horizons of expectation” from Koselleck, we will analyze the arguments held by the author in the defense of the technical education and the articulation performed by him between education and modernization in the second half of the nineteenth century.