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Public and private: debate in contemporary Brazil

Grant number: 20/04557-3
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): May 01, 2020
Effective date (End): April 30, 2021
Field of knowledge:Applied Social Sciences - Architecture and Town Planning - Fundamentals of Architecture and Urbanism
Principal Investigator:Leandro Silva Medrano
Grantee:Marina Sadala Borges
Host Institution: Faculdade de Arquitetura e Urbanismo (FAU). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:16/22704-8 - Architecture and urbanism, addressing the social space in the 21st Century: segregation strategies and appropriation tactics, AP.TEM


This research choses as theme the discussion of the public and private in Brazil, not only in the context of architecture and urbanism, but essentially of the constitution of these two spheres from the colonial society to the present day. Therefore, starting from a classic bibliography on the subject of the public and private, which includes Hannah ARENDT's (2007) "The Human condition" (1958), mainly the chapter "The Public and Private Spheres", in which the philosopher will analyze the emergence of these spheres in Classical Antiquity and their transformation until the rise of modern European society. Also passing through Richard SENNET (1998), "The decline of the public man: the tyrannies of intimacy", in which the sociologist is concerned with understanding not only the decline of public life, but also its historical constitution, specially in the formation of London and Paris as cities. The presence of these, and others authors in the bibliography, despite the "debate in contemporary Brazil", is justified by its importance in the elaboration of concepts and parameters, despite being Eurocentric, also serve to dimension public and private discussion in Brazil. In the case of Brazilian authors, Sérgio Buarque de HOLANDA (1996), with "Raízes do Brasil" (1936), and Fernando NOVAIS (1995), in "Daily life and private life in Portuguese America", are also considered classic bibliography of the topic, and very important for the understanding of this debate in the recent bibliography. In "Raízes do Brasil", Buarque makes an analysis of Brazilian society in several aspects, already highlighting the patrimonialism present in public institutions, which is later pointed out by Novais, who starts form an analysis of Brazilian colonial society, realizing what he conceptualizes as the inversion of the public and private spheres. As of Novais, or even simultaneous to it, the bibliography consists of authors such as Vera da silva TELLES (1990), Otília ARANTES (1993), Sérgio COSTA (1993), Roberto DAMATTA (1997), Teresa CALDEIRA (2000), among others, but also of more recent literature on the topic such as Paula MONTEIRO (2009), who in her article "Secularization and public space: the reinvention of religious pluralism in Brazil" discusses the presence of religion and religious institutions in the constitution of the democratic public sphere in the Brazilian case, as opposed to the paradigm of Weberian secularization, which understands the modernization process as the separation between Church and Estate, religion being increasingly restricted to private life. Thus, Monteiro mobilizes authors like Junger HABERMAS (1984) to understand and outline these particularities in the relationship between public space and religion, a very rich analysis for the public and private debate in Brazil. Based on the bibliographical review, both of the most consolidated literature on the topic, as well as the most recent literature, it is intended to understand the public debate and trace its evolution, keeping in mind its relevance to the theoretical and practical field of architecture and urbanism.

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