Darcy Ribeiro

26/10/1922 - 17/02/1997

Nationality: Brazilian

Darcy Ribeiro was a Brazilian anthropologist, but above all else he was passionate about his country. He put forward a wide-ranging anthropological theory, which can be called civilisation anthropology. In order to study the socio-political problems facing Brazil, Darcy Ribeiro thoroughly investigated the historical and cultural origins of the country. As far as he was concerned, it was only possible to understand the Brazilian people if you took into consideration the blood that runs in their veins, with African, European and Indigenous heritage.


Darcy never lost hope in his country. In this sense, he was one of the major utopians in the history of Brazil. However, he should not be considered naïve, but rather an objective and down-to-earth utopian with a rigorous and critical mind.


Darcy Ribeiro lived amongst Native Brazilians for a long time and helped to debunk the stereotypes that surrounded their communities, which were considered backward and savage. He moved into politics due to a strong desire to bring about utopian change from inside the system. He became a senator; and was also a candidate for Governor of the State of Rio de Janeiro, but later lost in the elections. His most important contribution was in education, with the creation of the University of Brasilia. He also proposed the Lei da Diretrizes and the Bases da Educação, two pieces of utopian legislation that still exist today, albeit slightly altered from his utopian principals.



It is impossible to discuss Darcy Ribeiro as a Utopian without mentioning one of his most significant utopian quotes: “I failed at everything I tried. I tried to teach Brazilian children how to read and write, I failed. I tried to save the natives, I failed. I tried to create a serious university and I failed. I tried to make Brazil develop autonomously and I failed. But my failures are my victories. I would hate to be in the place of those who beat me.” 

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