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The foundational world in Brazil: transformations of the State and formation of technical-scientifical circuits of construction of educational problems

Grant number: 22/05206-5
Support Opportunities:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Doctorate (Direct)
Effective date (Start): September 15, 2022
Effective date (End): September 14, 2023
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Sociology - Other specific Sociologies
Principal Investigator:Ana Paula Belem Hey
Grantee:Pedro Grunewald Louro
Supervisor: Hugo Harari-Kermadec
Host Institution: Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas (FFLCH). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Research place: Université Paris-Saclay, France  
Associated to the scholarship:21/01828-9 - The foundational world in Brazil: transformations of the State and formation of technical-scientifical circuits of construction of educational problems, BP.DD


The present project of internship abroad continues our doctoral research, with the broader objective of examining the transformations of the State from the analysis of the inflections of the foundational world in Brazil. Since the mid-2000s, foundations, both familiar and corporative, have moved from a purely negative critique of the State (demanding its reduction due to its "ineffectiveness" or its "crisis") to a position that is both reformist and based on expertise, given they increasingly participate in technical and consultative instances of decision-making processes, as well as delegate spokespeople to act in academic and media interfaces of the construction of public opinion. In doing so, particularly on the educational universe, these organizations forge interpenetrations between political institutions and technical and scientific institutions, insofar as they exercise a propositional presence in educational research and educational reforms at the same time. Thus, we propose to restore the structuring logic of the foundational world, based on which we seek to distinguish positions within it given the techniques, knowledges and academic elites that are mobilized by its members in order to perform an active role regarding the State. In other words, we shall work with the hypothesis that there is a relational opposition between applied microeconomics and public management by results, as two knowledges and techniques capable of constructing public problems and, at the same time, enabling public action. Therefore, the internship abroad is an intermediate state in the production of empirical evidence, in which we will set out the work of systematizing the data collected so far. This involves three specific objectives: the construction of a prosopographical database, consisting of the academic and professional trajectories of the relevant actors (i); the outline of the network of technical and scientific institutions woven by the foundational world (ii); and a prior codification of the legitimation work of its spokespersons (iii). In fact, the internship objectives are closely associated with the two main purposes of the ongoing doctoral research and the analytical framework related to them. Theses purposes are, on the one hand, the reconstruction of the social trajectory of the agents who embody the interventions of the organizations studied, analyzing the material and symbolic properties that characterize those who dispute the ways of conceiving and guiding the action of the State (via Bourdieu); and, on the other hand, the codification of how the foundational world justifies its action at the educational universe in face of criticisms, analyzing how changes in collective representations and action devices (relative both to the State and to the foundational world) take place and are justified as a result of the reinterpretation of the criticisms circulating in social life (via Boltanski). In a nutshell, by investigating the foundational world, the present research, proposed under an international cotutelle agreement with the Paris Saclay University, seeks to contribute to debates about the social composition of elites, taking into account their inflections and permanencies regarding the transformations of the State, as well as their legitimation strategies that are put to the test by a society in which criticism has become routinized. (AU)

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