Catholic Church in Brazil and its Higher Education institutions
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Abstract This article aims to map the higher education institutions owned by some Catholic organizations. The goal is to provide resources for a discussion on secularism by taking into consideration an important branch of the Brazilian educational system, given that university education attracts a great part of the efforts of Catholic institutions and is also responsible for professional training and for high level research. Catholic higher education institutions exist between what the religious bureaucracy expects – the raising of funds for the institutions that sponsor them or the production of knowledge in topics of these institutions’ concerns, for example – and the demands of the state boards that control university teaching and research. Catholic universities’ responses to these constrictions can be measured by the kinds of major degrees offered or by the knowledge areas emphasized in their budgets; therefore, it is possible to unveil their investment profile. Moreover, considering the context of Brazilian universities as a whole, it is viable to establish classification standards allowing this research to describe a topography of these institutions, both in a geographical, literal meaning, as well as in a sociological one using the concept created by French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu. The fact that most of the analyzed institutions offer only undergraduate degrees – the majority of which consisting of Pedagogy courses and Licentiate Degrees – allows the paper to affirm that these institutions hold a dominated position in what concerns scientific innovation and, at the same time, a dominating position in the dissemination of the existing knowledge.