Dados vol. 23 n. 2 Rio de Janeiro 1980

Casa-Grande e Senzala: Uma Interpretação

Medeiros, Maria Alice de Aguiar


In the history of sociological thought in Brazil Gilberto Freyre became known as the theoretician of "racial democracy". With his peculiar theory of race relations, the author provoked a significant change in a series of concepts and in traditional patterns of rhetoric. By speaking of social peace and racial harmony within an unequal and authoritarian society such as Brazil, Freyre first developed a conservative discourse. In addition, by letting the reader conclude that responsibility for the social failure of Blacks and mestizos was their own fault, he gave the ruling elite a powerful argument in defense of racial privilege. This article analyses Gilberto Freyre's conceptual scheme of Casa-Grande & Senzala. It investigates the author's methodology as well as his theoretical premises, especially on "luso-tropicalismo", a central theme of the author's thought and a concept which leads him to plea for a social science for the Tropics, or "Tropicologia". Furthermore, the article points out the role played by psychological analysis in Freyre's interpretation of power relations.

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Casa-Grande e Senzala: Uma Interpretação