Valorization as an educational project: schooling, Afro-Brazilian cultural organizations, and the struggle against racial exclusion in Salvador da Bahia

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Date

2010-05

Authors

Brown, Zachary Zoeth

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Abstract

This MA thesis attempts to achieve three main goals in setting the stage for a case study on Afro-Brazilian community social organizations. First among these goals is to demonstrate that scholarly and activist criticism of community organizations’ inability to generate broad-based political constituencies overlooks a key component of what community organizations actually strive for, and thus, characterizing them as an inappropriate use of resources is an error. This is accomplished through a discussion of the reluctance of Afro-Brazilians to self-identify as such and the need to support consciousness-raising with a valorization effort that addresses the negative stigma associated with blackness. Second, this essay looks to theories of education, specifically the racialized nature of the educational experience, as an indication that valorization efforts must focus on supplementing or countering the racial subjectivities that schools establish with more positive experiences of blackness. Third, this essay considers how community social capital is among the most influential sources of valorization, and establishes several hypotheses about the mechanisms of community organizations that garner effective valorization. These hypotheses are tested in a case study of community organizations in Salvador da Bahia.

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