Before the 1930s—Interpreting the Nation State: Sociological Imagination in a Pre-institutionalized Context

  • Veridiana Domingos CordeiroEmail author
  • Hugo Neri
Part of the Sociology Transformed book series (SOTR)


Interpretation of the Brazilian reality is much older than the institutionalization of sociology. Since the end of the nineteenth century, the self-taught, dilettantes, and intellectuals from other disciplines have been publishing their views on contextual topics, such as the formation of the nation-state, identity, and racial miscegenation. This “social imagination” thought critically about the Brazilian reality. Proto-scientific writings appeared under the influence of both culturalism and positivism. The culturalist approach influenced further works and established a tradition called Essayism, which creatively combined literature, history, and sociology, whereas positivism waned in importance across the decades. These first “social imagineers” envisioned many of the issues further worked on by sociology in Brazil.


Brazilian intellectuals Positivism Essayism Social imagination 


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  4. Skidmore, T. (1974). Black into White: Race and Nationality in Brazilian Thought. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of São PauloSão PauloBrazil

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