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The precariousness of labor and Alfredo Bosi's thinking are themes of "Estudos Avançados" #108

by Richard Meckien - published Jul 20, 2023 02:40 PM - - last modified Aug 08, 2023 09:06 AM
Rights: Original version in Portuguese by Mauro Bellesa.

Capa de Estudos Avançados 108

The new professional and occupational requirements, the precariousness of employment, and the suppression of rights and guarantees are the central themes of the dossier "Work and Exclusion," part of Estudos Avançados #108, whose digital version is now available, free of charge, at the Scientific Electronic Library Online (Portuguese only).

The issue also features a set of 11 articles on the activity of Alfredo Bosi (1936-2021) as a literary critic and engaged thinker. Professor emeritus from the University of São Paulo's Faculty of Philosophy, Languages and Literature, and Human Sciences (FFLCH), and a member of the Brazilian Academy of Letters, Bosi has been director of the IEA and editor of the journal Estudos Avançados for 30 years.


In the editorial, the journal's editor, Sérgio Adorno, points out that, "in a parallel and paradoxical way, the advanced forms of work organization represented by the complex digitization of industrial production are articulated and coexist with the reinvention of slavery, which was believed to be banished with the emergence of modern society."

An example of the dynamics of this hateful practice is reported in an article with the main results of research on contemporary slave labor carried out in Açailândia, in the Brazilian state of Maranhão, based on the narratives of workers rescued from this condition.

Another extremely relevant issue addressed in the dossier is the analysis of the discussions that have led to the ratification of Convention no. 189 of the International Labor Organization (ILO) by Brazil in 2018. It refers to the establishment of dignified working conditions for domestic workers, a category that brings together more than 7 million workers in the country.

Two articles address the socioeconomic impacts of infrastructure works and distortions in the production chain. The first case is discussed in a study on the adequacy of residents of a beach on the coast of the state of Pará to the construction of a highway on the site. Another article adresses the maintenance of injustices in the production chain of Brazil nuts in quilombos in the region of Alto Trombetas, also in Pará.

Literature and Society

The essays on Bosi especially examine aspects of his work as a literary critic, articulated with social and political concerns that have always been present in his trajectory. The composition of a dossier on "an outstanding humanist, who has denounced violence and the abusive use of power to seek solutions that reconciled the conflict, typical of human relations, with the solidarity inherent in the lives of common men and women," in the words of Adorno, could not be different.

He highlights three concepts present in Bosi's works that are discussed in the dossier: resistance, ideology, and dialectic. The first focuses on the analysis of the poem "The Machine of the World," by Carlos Drummond de Andrade, and on Bosi’s reflections since the 1970s, when he wrote the essay Poesia e Resistência ("Poetry and Resistance").

The topic is taken up again in a text that articulates literature and cinema, using films by Roberto Rosselini and Pier Paolo Pasolini, and is also present in an essay on candomblé featured both in the novel "Tent of Miracles," by Jorge Amado, and in its respective cinematographic adaptation by Nelson Pereira dos Santos.

Traits of Bosi's personality and his passion for poetry are recalled in an article that comments on his book O Ser e o Tempo da Poesia ("The Being and the Time of Poetry"). There is also the identification of a psychoanalytic approach of the critic in his analysis of "Counselor Ayres’ Memorial," by Machado de Assis.

The reflections of Bosi and other critics are addressed in a study on the critical position of Graciliano Ramos in relation to the so-called Romance de 30, a set of literary works produced in the second phase of Brazilian Modernism, between 1930 and 1945.

The meaning and functioning of the concept of dialectic expressed by Bosi in the book "Brazil and the Dialectic of Colonization" are discussed in a dense article that articulates several aspects, such as the reception of the work by critic Roberto Schwartz and "a certain affinity of interests and procedures" with spectropoetics, a philosophical and critical approach developed by Jacques Derrida.

Other essays address Bosi's work on the short story as a literary form and on the poet's position as an intellectual in the face of war, with reference to the poem "The Rose of the People," by Carlos Drummond de Andrade, and España, Aparta de Mí este Cáliz, by César Vallejo.


Issue #108 also features reviews of five books: Dar Corpo ao Impossível: O Sentido da Dialética a Partir de Theodor Adorno ("Giving Body to the Impossible: The Sense of Dialectic from Theodor Adorno" (Autêntica, 2019), by Vladimir Safatle; the translation to Theodor Adorno's "Aspects of the New Right-Wing Extremism" (Editora Unesp, 2020); Teatro Legislativo ("Legislative Theater") (Editora 34, 2020), by Augusto Boal; Imaginação como Presença: O Corpo e seus Afetos na Experiência Literária ("Imagination as Presence: The Body and its Affections in Literary Experience," (Editora UFPR, 2020), by Lígia Gonçalves Diniz; and Conversa Comigo ("Talk to Me") (Penalux, 2019), by Ricardo Ramos Filho.

The list below contains the names of the authors who have contributed with each one of the addressed themes:

Work and Exclusion

In the Webs of Slavery: Perceptions of Workers Rescued from Situations of Slave Labor in the state of Maranhão - Luciano Rodrigues Costa, Alessandra Gomes Mendes Tostes, Ana Pereira dos Santos, and Bráulio Figueiredo Alves da Silva
Memories from the Construction of the PA-458 Highway Connecting Bragança to Ajuruteua in Northeastern Pará on Brazil’s Amazon Coast - Zenúbia Oliveira Silva, Francisco Pereira de Oliveira, and César Martins de Souza
Brazil nut Farming and Quilombos in Alto Trombetas (State of Pará): A Proposal for Socio-Environmental Justice - Felipe Souto Alves and Patrícia Chaves de Oliveira
ILO Convention no. 189: Notes on the Ratification Process in Brazil - Thays Monticelli and Alexandre Barbosa Fraga
Agricultural Policy for Agribusiness: The Use of Taxpayers’ Money to Indirectly Benefit Foreign Multinational Corporations - Graciella Corcioli and Gabriel da Silva Medina
Indigenous Peoples of the Desert: The Bedouins of the Negev. Congress in Beer Sheva, 2000: The Future of Indigenous Peoples - Betty Mindlin

Alfredo Bosi

Faustian Pact and Resistance in the Poem "The Machine of the World" - Marcus Vinicius Mazzari
Alfredo Bosi: Two Approaches - Alcides Villaça
Traits of Psychoanalysis "in Two Figures from Machado de Assis" - Cleusa Rios P. Passos
Times of Insomnia: Graciliano Ramos and the Inflections of the Neorealistic Novels of the 1930s - Erwin Torralbo Gimenez
Poetry and War: Action and Melancholy in Vallejo and Drummond - Pedro Meira Monteiro
Different Forms of Resistance Poetry - Fernando Baião Viotti
Dialectics and Alteritarian Politics in Brazil and the "Dialectic of Colonization" - Ravel Giordano Paz
Alfredo Bosi and the Short Forms - Diego A. Molina
Libertarian Christianity and Redemption in Roberto Rossellini and Pier Paolo Pasolini - Paulo Roberto Ramos
Aganju, Xangô, Alapalá: Religious Racism, Resistance and Justice in "Tent of Miracles" (the Novel and the Film) - Soleni Biscouto Fressato
Women’s Cinema as Resistance to Dictatorship: Readings from a Research Source - Ana Maria Veiga


Dialectics and Political Action: On Dar Corpo ao Impossível, by Vladimir Safatle - Ronaldo Tadeu de Souza
Adorno, Fascism, and the Aporias of Reason - Fabio Mascaro Querido
What Makes Representative Government Democratic? - Gustavo Hessmann Dalaqua
Reflections on Heideggerian Aspects of Lígia Gonçalves Diniz’s Essay - Rafael Fava Belúzio
Understanding Made of Dialogues and Silences - Ieda Lebensztayn

Photo: Leonor Calasans/IEA-USP