Using the historical contextualization of two key concepts in Brazilian studies of race (color prejudice and racism), the author analyses the formation of the scientific field of race relations studies in Brazil in the 1940s and its posterior replacement for structural and institutional analysis of racism after 1970. He argues that the race relations paradigm represented a step forward from both nineteenth century racialism and early twentieth century culturalism in the precise sense that it permitted an acute analysis of the social interaction between blacks and whites in different social spheres. The increasing political tensions of the field, as well as some of its theoretical pitfalls, conducted however to its substitution for the structural analysis of racism in the late 1970s. The author suggests that this structural analysis blurs different dimensions of social life and loses its virtues unless it is complemented by precise analytical studies of black and white interaction in the diverse spheres of life.
color prejudice; race prejudice; racism; race relations