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Sergio Rouanet inaugurates the Olavo Setubal Chair of Arts, Culture and Science

by Richard Meckien - published May 20, 2016 11:55 AM - - last modified Mar 28, 2017 04:14 PM
Rights: Original version in Portuguese by Mauro Bellesa.

Alfredo Bosi e Sergio Paulo Rouanet - Cátedra Paulo Setubal de Arte, Cultura e Ciência
Alfredo Bosi has introduced Sergio
Paulo Rouanet's speech

Modernity and its Ambivalences was the opening conference of the Olavo Setubal Chair of Arts, Culture and Science, a project of the IEA in partnership with the Itaú Cultural Institute.

Political scientist, philosopher and diplomat Sergio Paulo Rouanet addressed the influence of modernity in the economic, political and cultural contexts through the ideas of sociologists Max Weber and Manuel Castells, and philosopher Jürgen Habermas, on May 17. He said that modernity was institutionalized in two vectors that incorporate aspects of each other: the functional one and the emancipatory one.

The notion that modernization is mainly effective can be found in the ideas of Weber, Rouanet said. "This concept is what prevails in the specialized literature, and in economic and social development policies. He believes that it is a functional concept of modernity with the idea that in a modern society institutions work better than in an archaic one, which is identified by globalization.

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Modernity and its Ambivalences - Conference by Sergio Paulo Rouanet - May 17, 2016


The emancipatory vector, in turn, only considers a society modern if its subsystems (economy, politics and culture) also provide the maximum autonomy possible for individuals, Rouanet said.

In this view, modernity would mean the following: in the economic context, the individual works to have access to goods and services, necessary for their well-being; in the political context, there is ability to put citizenship into practice; and in the cultural context, there is the free use of reason, "an institutional context that guarantees the right to cultural production and the right of access to culture for everyone."


The ceremony has highlighted the importance of the partnership
between universities and the private sector in support of culture

Maria Alice Setubal, Paulo Saldiva, Marcelo de Andrade Roméro e Eduardo Saron
From left to right: Maria Alice Setubal, Paulo Saldiva, Marcelo de Andrade Romero and Eduardo Saron

The launch of the Olavo Setubal Chair of Arts, Culture and Science was held at the USP's School of Medicine in the presence of the provost for Culture and University Extension, Marcelo de Andrade Romero, the director of the IEA, Paulo Saldiva, the director of Itaú Cultural, Eduardo Saron, and sociologist and educator Maria Alice Setubal, daughter of Olavo Setubal (1993-2008).

Rouanet was presented by his colleague at the Brazilian Academy of Letters (ABL), Alfredo Bosi, a professor emeritus from the USP's Faculy of Philosophy, Languages and Literature, and Human Sciences (FFLCH), and an honorary professor of the IEA.

The conference had the following commentators: Celso Lafer, former president of the São Paulo Research Foundation, also a member of the ABL and professor emeritus from the USP's Faculty of Law; Renato Janine Ribeiro, former Minister of Education and a professor at FFLCH; and Barbara Freitag, a professor emeritus from the University of Brasília. The event was closed by Martin Grossmann, former director of the IEA and scientific coordinator of the chair.

All of them have stressed the importance of the chair being the result of a partnership between a public university and a private institution for the sake of art and culture. They have also highlighted the peculiar profile of Setubal as an entrepreneur who has always stood out in supporting culture. In 1975, when he was the mayor of São Paulo, he defined the construction of a large public library, which later became the São Paulo Cultural Center. He created the Itaú Cultural in 1987.

As for the choice of Rouanet being the first chair holder, Saron and Grossmann said that his name was naturally mentioned when they sought to identify an intellectual with a decisive role in the development and deployment of culture supportive policies. Rouanet was the National Secretary of Culture in 1991-92, being the author of the cultural incentive law that bears his name.

Celso Lafer, Renato Janine Ribeiro, Barbara Freitag e Martin Grossmann - Cátedra Olavo Setubal de Arte, Cultura e Ciência
From left to right: Celso Lafer, Renato Janine Ribeiro, Barbara Freitag and Martin Grossmann.

Photos: Leonor Calasans/IEA-USP