chapter  6
17 Pages

A Mixed-Race Nation: Afro-Brazilians and Cultural Policy in Bahia, 1970—1990

The past two decades have witnessed a transformation in the relationship between Brazilian state and society. Black movements, labor organizations, and human rights groups pressed for changes in government policies even before the end of the military regime in 1985.1 These new social move­ ments recreated civil society, expressing democratic aspirations and broad­ ening the experience of citizenship.2 In the face of these challenges, the Brazilian state formulated new social policies and created institutional spaces for some of these movements. As Gloria Diogenes has argued, these new social movements grew out of the “non-political realm and became linked [to the state] through their insertion into the fine webs of Power as they reworked Power’s very knowledge, acting in the capillary spaces” of the state apparatus; social groups thus gained a certain degree of power vis-a-vis the state.3 In addition, the 1970s saw the construction of a positive identity on the part of blacks who sought to recover their history and to establish their full membership in Brazilian society, which had important implications for race relations. These larger transformations in state-society relations set the context for

this article’s examination of official conceptions underlying public policy toward Afro-Brazilians in the years before redemocratization. Public poli­ cies, understood broadly as measures implemented by state apparati and

Translated by Hendrik Kraay.