Developmental Anthropophagy: Brazil’s Regional and Global Search for National Development in the Postwar Era

Friday, January 6, 2017: 9:10 AM
Room 201 (Colorado Convention Center)
Rafael Ioris, Denver University
Despite the many industrialization policies carried out by the Federal government since the mid-1930s, in the aftermath of WWII Brazilian manufactured goods could not yet compete in the international markets, and European and U.S protectionism undermined revenue based on coffee exports. In this challenging context, a renewed interest in promoting state-led, fast-paced industrialization became paramount for the country’s political, economic and intellectual elites. In effect, the goal of accelerated national development provided the basis for reconfiguring the country’s economic and political, domestic and international behaviors; and most policies formulated in the period involved in some form the notion of national development in defining the very sense of national identity and nationalism.

By focusing on Brazil’s engagement with both the developmentalist agenda posed by the Economic Commission for Latin America (ECLA) and the emerging debates on decolonization taking placed across the globe, particularly among recently emancipated Asian and African countries, this paper examines the relationship between regional and international rising paradigms on development with the policies formulated and implemented in Brazil during the 1950s. The main argument is that the country’s so-called ‘developmentalist decade’ saw the emergence of a new kind of indirect yet mutually reinforcing interactions between the political projects and ideational propositions unfolding in domestic and global arenas, which ultimately forced both leaders and intellectuals to rethink the meanings and goals of nationalism in a new rapidly-changing context.