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Complicated Campuses: Universities, Middle-Class Politics, and State-Society Relations in Brazil, 1955-1990


Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1928/12878

Complicated Campuses: Universities, Middle-Class Politics, and State-Society Relations in Brazil, 1955-1990

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Title: Complicated Campuses: Universities, Middle-Class Politics, and State-Society Relations in Brazil, 1955-1990
Author: Snider, Colin M.
Advisor(s): Bieber, Judy
Committee Member(s): Bieber, Judy
Hutchison, Elizabeth Q.
Hall, Linda B.
Langland, Victoria
Milleret, Margo
Department: University of New Mexico. Dept. of History
Subject: Brazil, Military Dictatorship, Universities, Middle Class, State-Society Relations
LC Subject(s): Higher education and state--Brazil
Universities and colleges--Political aspects--Brazil
Middle class--Brazil--Political activity
Degree Level: Doctoral
Abstract: This dissertation examines universities and the development of middle-class politics in Brazil in the latter half of the twentieth century. It asks: how did the middle class become increasingly important to Brazilian politics and society? By focusing on the university system as both a physical and discursive site of negotiation, the dissertation traces how the military, bureaucrats, business leaders, pedagogues, students, and parents entered into complex debates over education and national development. Drawing from police records, bureaucratic archives, private collections, and oral interviews, it studies how the middle class and the state under military rule strengthened the role of the middle class by connecting university education, development, and white-collar professions. Thus, the analysis moves beyond narratives of repression and resistance to examine the complex nature of state-society relations before and during Brazil’s military dictatorship, and reveals considerable ideological heterogeneity within the student population. In doing so, it contributes to the political and social history of Brazil, as well as adding to the small but increasingly important scholarship on the middle class in Latin America. The dissertation shows how universities became increasingly central to middle class politics. Early chapters trace the rise of universities’ importance to different visions of national development. When the military dictatorship rose to power in 1964, universities functioned both as physical sites to resist the dictatorship as well as discursive fields where society and the state debated Brazil’s future. In these discursive struggles, groups with widely varying ideologies coalesced around the idea of expanding the middle class as the primary vehicle for national development. As increasing economic turbulence and gradual political opening took place after 1975, students and university-trained professionals with particular material and political expectations became a major force in the push for a return to democratization. By the dictatorship’s end in 1985, the emphasis on university education had helped the middle class emerge as a major voice in Brazilian society and politics.
Graduation Date: May 2011
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1928/12878

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