SOCI-257 Brazilian Society
Spring for 2008-2009
Ths course is intended to provide a general, sociological approach to the cultural and social structures of contemporary Brazil. Brazil merits special sociological study since it is (by far) the largest “Catholic” nation in the world; its population (5th largest on earth) also is the largest speaking any of the Romance languages (here Portuguese); it has a very rich regional and ethnic diversity, encompassing various European, African, indigenous, and Asian peoples; it has among the highest levels of inequality in the world, including huge disparities among the racial groups; and it has one of the largest economies in the world. We will consider Brazil via a number of issues and topics familiar to anyone who has taken an introductory sociology course, but obviously with a different national focus. After initial brief coverage of Brazil’s geography and history, we will consider the following Brazilian topics: population and patterns of demographic change, including family planning; cultural institutions such as the family (with attention to norms and ethnic intermarriage patterns), religions (including the African-derived and the Protestant), the economy (including foreign influences and recent restructuring), politics (including recent democratization and related matters); education and its inequalities; sports; et al. Next we will examine ultural norms and values, and deviance from those norms, including patterns of crime and of criminal justice. In considering social organization, we will consider patterns of face-to-face social relationships (including networks and clientelism) and of regional and urban/rural residence. Next we will study patterns of inequality--including a good deal of attention to social class and mobility, to gender, and to racial & ethnic relations (especially the last). Finally we will consider Brazilian movements for social and political change. This course is also offered for MA Students in the CLAS Program with a LASP 400-level course-number. Spring.
The following syllabi may help you learn more about this course (login required):
Spring '09: Wickham-Crowley, Timothy (web site, file download)
Additional syllabi may be available in prior academic years.
Other academic years
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