Development, modernity and subjectivity

José Maurício Domingues

Modernity was a central theme in Costa Pinto's work, with two distinct interpretations. The first and more obvious of these implied a rejection of the term, inasmuch as it conceptualized a kind of historical and social evolution which he rejected as a model or telos for Brazil. It was characterized by the adoption of consumer, behavioral, and institutional patterns, as well as values and ideals taken from more advanced societies, without necessarily entailing real changes in the existing economic and social structure. There was, however, another way of conceptualizing modernity, which Pinto, in a much more positive vein, calls "development". This would embrace and improve the welfare of the whole population, bringing about a transformation to a new "social structure". Whereas "modernization" was by nature unplannable, development implied the opposite, as it had the State at its very core. It is argued that this notion of development, albeit outdated, is still to some extent valid, though a change in the concept's overview of modernization is required; instead of regarding the state as the great agent of modernization, we need to see it as one of several collective subjectivities that are to push forward the development process.

Development; Modernity; Costa Pinto; Collective subjectivity


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