Jonathan W. Warren
Explores cultures, identities, political economy, and popular mobilization in Latin America. Examines relations of power and production between social classes and ethnic groups, as well as ideologies and intellectual movements. Offered: jointly with SOC 355.
This course is focused on the broad theme of social change in Latin America with an emphasis on the role of culture and change in Brazil. As the Brazilian sociologist, Paulo Freire once said, “To deny the importance of subjectivity in the process of transforming the world and history is naïve and simplistic. It is to admit the impossible: a world without men.” And yet many social theorists deny or minimize the relevance of narratives, habitus, identities, common sense, i.e., culture. They assume a world of rational actors or publics who are overly-determined by the social, material or institutional. In effect, then, they presume the impossible: a social world without humans. In this class students will learn that the path to progress and change is very different than the one commonly touted by most of the theorists and practitioners of improvement. They will be taught the importance of subjectivities in social formations and how their transformation is vital if progress is to be made on many of the great challenges facing contemporary Brazilian society, such as gang violence, democracy, poverty, racism, environmental destruction and economic development. Finally students will explore a number of effective strategies for changing culture both in Brazil and elsewhere.
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