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Intellectuals and Politics in Brazil: from populism theory to the reconciliation with the republican tradition in Francisco Weffort interpretation

Grant number: 14/10284-9
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): March 01, 2015
Effective date (End): November 30, 2017
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Political Science - Political Theory
Cooperation agreement: Coordination of Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (CAPES)
Principal Investigator:Milton Lahuerta
Grantee:Rafael Marchesan Tauil
Home Institution: Centro de Educação e Ciências Humanas (CECH). Universidade Federal de São Carlos (UFSCAR). São Carlos , SP, Brazil
Associated scholarship(s):15/22971-3 - Political Thought and History of Ideas: Comprehending Different Approaches and Interpretative Methods in the United Kingdom, BE.EP.DR


Our goal in this research is to analyze Francisco Weffort's politic-intellectual trajectory, as well as his interpretation about Brazil. Our main hypothesis is that Weffort, with his populism theory formulation, built up an ex-ante justification to the Worker's Party formation in 1979. We are also led by another hypothesis, which is fixed in the idea that a radical change in Weffort National History comprehension would have been influenced by his actuation as Secretary-General in the Worker's Party during the 80s. In the first part of his interpretations, especially about the populism theory, there is an understanding which means that for an effective Brazilian democratization process, a rupture with the republican tradition - focused in the Nation construction thematic - would be needed. This reality apprehension, which focused in the criticism of the populism demagogic characteristic, would be the main reason for his commitment in favor of a new workers' political organization. This commitment would not just be able to affirm a classist perspective, but would also disrupt with the conformism and with the typical class conciliation, that in his vision, was descendant from the labor tradition, as well as from the Communist Brazilian Party (PCB). This line of thought, which aimed to break up with national-populist conceptual remarks, improved after the 1964 military coup and became hegemonic in the academic sphere and among the Left not linked to the PCB during the 70s. The process led to an intellectuality expressive fraction to experience the political life and to commit them into the Worker's Party creation. Nevertheless, despite Weffort's winning interpretation, the political practical test would not be so easy for him. After actuating as PT's Secretary-General and coordinating with Lula's Republic Presidential campaign in 1994 he would leave the Party and be in charge of Fernando Henrique Cardoso's Ministry of Culture. Afterwards, Weffort would completely change his interpretation about the nation's reality. From a disruptive republican traditional view, he adopted a position in which he recognized as positive some constitutive tradition elements, which he denied by at the beginning of his interpretations. This new comprehension substantially overpassed his first comprehension about the nation's reality and induced him to reconsider much of his judgments about it. The political and intellectual actors, as well as the history process (the 1930 revolution e.g.), which were hardly criticized during his first interpretations, started to be seen in a positive way and as very important for the state-building process, citizen rights improvement and for the Brazilian's fortification of democracy. In other words, overcoming an essential negative view proposed by the populism theory, Weffort performed a kind of reconciliation with the Brazilian History and with its intellectual traditions, especially with the national-populism. (AU)