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Interface - Comunicação, Saúde, Educação

Print version ISSN 1414-3283

Interface (Botucatu) vol.4 Botucatu  2008


Consecration of vanguards: collective memory and biography of scientific practices in the Faculty of Medical Sciences at UNICAMP


A consagração das vanguardas: memória e biografia coletivas das práticas científicas na Faculdade de Ciências Médicas da Unicamp



Miguel Montagner

Tese de Doutorado (2007) Programa de Pós-Graduação em Saúde Coletiva, Departamento de Medicina Preventiva e Social, Faculdade de Ciências Médicas, Universidade Estadual de Campinas. <>

Replicated from Interface - Comunicação, Saúde, Educação, Botucatu, v.12, n.25, p. 460, Abr./Jun. 2008.



Keywords: Bourdieu, Halbwachs, habitus, collective memory, collective biography, collective persona, vanguard, primary group.

Palavras-chave: Bourdieu. Halbwachs. Habitus. Memória coletiva. Biografia coletiva. Persona coletiva. Vanguarda. Grupos primários.

Palabras-clave: Bourdieu. Campo. Habitus. Halbwachs. Memoria colectiva. Vanguardia. Grupos primarios.



This thesis follows the perspective of the sociology of science and seeks to understand the scientific practices of researchers in a medical institution using quantitative and qualitative methodologies. Our theoretical basis was the genetic constructivism of Pierre Bourdieu. Based on the work of this author, we sought to outline and relate the formation of scientific habitus of the professors of a medical school, analyzing the collective memories of the period of institutionalization, development and consecration of its primary groups. We sought to reveal the relation of these habitus with the social space in which the researchers were socialized, constructed their social trajectories and constituted their primary groups.

As a theoretical strategy, we created a construct denominated the "collective biography" of a collective persona, based on the concepts of collective trajectories of Bourdieu, collective memory of Halbwachs, primary group of Ferrarotti & Cooley, persona of Mauss and collective persona of Boltanski.

On the quantitative plane, we designed and analyzed the principal characteristics of these professors in statistical terms, via quantification of the Lattes Platform database, which contains the curriculums of all the Full Professors of the Faculty of Medical Sciences at UNICAMP. On the qualitative plane, we conducted focused in-depth interviews with a sample group of professors and performed structural analysis of the responses, in order to understand their practices and values as scientists, their subjective idealizations regarding their own life trajectories and the collective memory present in the institution.

Comparing both types of data, we synthesized the principal characteristics of the researchers and dedicated special attention to 3 vanguards: tradition, experimental medicine and public health. We sought to elucidate how these vanguards, represented by primary groups, perceive themselves and define themselves as social groups through their habitus and the manner that they transform these dispositions into concrete and routine acts of scientific practice.