Florida Brazil

The Brazilian Way

 
Search for tickets to Brazil
Brazil Resource Center

 

The Brazilian Way



The Brazilian Way

Despite regional and social class variations, the Brazilian way of life has common traits that distinguish it from the customary ways of dealing with people and situations in North America and Europe and even in other Latin American countries. Its uniqueness seems to result from the peculiar blend of Portuguese, African, and Amerindian cultural influences in a setting in which central authority attempted, without great success, to exploit the people and resources and to enforce religious norms. Under these circumstances, it was preferable to appear to obey than actually to obey.

Many attempts have been made to explain what makes Brazilians different from their neighbors in the Americas, both North and South. In the late nineteenth century, Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis, one of Brazil's greatest writers, explored the subtleties of the Brazilian character, focusing on the attempts of the urban middle class to emulate European lifestyles and aspirations. In the 1920s, the writer Mário de Andrade, a leader of the modernist movement that broke with tradition and attempted to find an authentic Brazilian identity, created the archetypal Brazilian character, Macunaíma, a lazy but ingenious black-turned-white Amazonian who migrated to São Paulo and was a "man with no character." In the following decade, in books such as The Masters and the Slaves (Casa Grande e Senzala) and The Mansions and the Shanties (Sobrados e Mocambos), Gilberto Freyre emphasized the flexibility of the Portuguese, as well as the African roots of the Northeasterners. Other authors characterized the Brazilian as homem cordial (cordial man). In his novels and stories, João Guimarães Rosa, Brazil's greatest writer of the twentieth century, found universal themes in the contradictory characters and peculiar language of men and women deep in the sertão backlands. Novelist Jorge Amado focused on social conflict, local color, and sensuality in his native Bahia State. More recently, the Brazilian anthropologist Roberto da Matta explored tensions between the private and public spheres, spontaneity, and authority, as well as sentiment and order to which Brazilians have found their own characteristic solutions.

At the level of interpersonal relations, in contrast to what is usually found in Spanish-speaking Latin America, where behavior tends to be more formal and rigid, there are in Brazil strong cultural values in favor of conciliation, tolerance, and cordiality. To the extent possible, direct personal confrontation is avoided. This Brazilian style of behavior may be derived from an Iberian and colonial heritage of diverse ethnic groups living together, weaker central authority exercised by the Portuguese crown, and day-to-day practical forms of resistance to exploitation. It may also have an element of popular emulation of the genteel behavior of the elites. Whatever its origins, Brazilians are known for their informality, good nature, and charm (simpatia ), as well as their desire not to be thought unpleasant or boorish (chato ). They place high value on warmth, spontaneity, and lack of pomp and ceremony.

Though they are cordial and magnanimous at the interpersonal level, Brazilians as a whole are exploitative with regard to the environment. This attitude has been explained in terms of the bandeirante or conquistador mentality by authors such as Viana Moog and Jorge Wilheim. According to this interpretation, the general spirit of the colonizer of yesteryear or today is to accumulate as much wealth as possible as quickly as possible and then move on. Whatever its roots, the result of this kind of behavior is individualism, transience, and disregard for others and for nature as opposed to stability, solidarity, equilibrium, and equity. It has led to both human and environmental degradation.

In a similar fashion, Brazilians tend not to think in terms of the common good. Discourse invoking mutual benefit for all concerned is often mistrusted as a disguised justification for colonialism or exploitation. The result of widespread evasion of rules imposed by the central authority is a vicious circle involving crackdowns and inspections (fiscalização ) to enforce ever-tougher rules and ever more sophisticated and ingenious ways of evading the rules (burla ). This tendency often blocks the efforts of those who are well-intentioned, without creating major obstacles but rather making their work easier for the truly dishonest.

This nonconformity with illegitimate authority is probably an origin of one of Brazil's most characteristic and original concepts, summarized in the word jeito . The word is practically untranslatable but refers to ways of "cutting red tape," "bending the rules," "looking the other way," or an alternative "way out." In its worst form, it amounts to corruption. At its best, it means finding pragmatic solutions to difficult problems without making waves.

Many Brazilians regard soccer and Carnaval, for which Brazil is famous, as outlets for the frustrations of everyday life. Brazil's three world soccer championships led to great national pride until 1970; subsequent losses caused twenty-four years of frustration until the fourth World Cup was brought home in 1994. The yearly Carnaval festivities provide for short-lived release and relaxation.

Another form of release is through imported and native music, widely disseminated by modern communications. The bossa nova of the 1960s was replaced by the lively Brazilian rhythms and dance movement of forró , lambada ,samba and pagode .

Data as of April 1997




 



 


About Brazil
Table A. Selected Acronyms and Abbreviations
Table B. Chronology of Important Events
Geography
Society
Economy
Transportation and Communications
Government and Politics
National Security


Historical Setting

The Society and Its Environment

The Physical Setting
- Size and Location
- Geology, Geomorphology, and Drainage

- Soils and Vegetation
- Climate
- Geographic Regions

North / Northeast
South / Southeast
Center-West

- The Environment
Population
- Population Size and Distribution
- Mortality / Fertility
- Migration and Urbanization
Social Structure
Social Classes
- Gender
- Youth / Elderly
- Race and Ethnicity
- Amerindians
- Rural Groups
Cultural Unity and Diversity
- The Brazilian Way
- Language
- Mass Communications
- Family and Kinship
Religion
- Roman Catholicism
- Other Religions

Health Status and Health Care
- Indicators of Health
- Infectious and Chronic Diseases
- Nutrition and Diet
- The Health Care System
- Health Professionals and Resources
Public Health and Welfare
- Social Security

- Sanitation and Public Utilities
- Housing
Education
- Literacy
- Primary and Secondary Schools
- Colleges and Universities
- Principal Research Libraries
Social Conflict and Participation
- Conflict and Nonviolence
- Growth of Social and Environmental Movements
- Inclusion and Exclusion

The Economy

Government and Politics

National Security

Science and Technology

Brazil Travel and Tourism
-
Belo Horizonte
- Fernando de Noronha
- Foz do Iguaçu
- Porto Alegre
- Rio de Janeiro
- Salvador Bahia
- São Paulo

Brazil General Information Center

Bahia Resort Hotels
Brazilian Consulate
Brazilian Currency
Capoeira
Carnival of Brazil
Dictionary -Transltation
Flights to Brazil
Information About Brazil
Map of Brazil
Travel to Brazil
Visa to Brazil


 


Clique para Português

Accountant Florida
Airlines
Auto Sales
Beauty Salons
Brazilian Products
Brazilian Stores
Churches
Construction
Dentists Florida
Doctors
Driving Schools Florida
Hotels Florida
Import / Export
Insurance
Jobs
Lawyers Florida
Mechanics
Money Transfers
Moving Company in Florida
Newspapers
Other
Parties / Events
Real Estate Florida
Rental Car Company
Restaurants
Satellite Dishes
Schools Florida
Translation Companies
Travel Agencies
Veterinarians
Workout


Click Here to list your company.

 


Privacy Policy
- Terms of Service - Site Map - Florida Guide

Copyright © 2003 by Florida Brasil.com
All rights reserved