Fontoura Costa, José Augusto

Universidade de Sao Paulo
28 Jun 2018 to 19 Jul 2018
Experience in Oñati: 

My research in this short stay in the IISL focus on two separate but intertwined areas.

The first is on complex contracts and the limits of the ideal type of institute as set in the XIX century and reproduced so far in legal studies. Though sociolegal studies approach often hold a view on the whole legal system, it is possible to assert that microlegal approaches, which start from institutes and deal with their social and economic uses, are also necessary. Since the contract, alogng with ownership and legal personality, is an institutional cornerstone of capitalist system, there is a need to understand it and its ideological uses. In the library and search system of the institute I’ve found some important texts on contracts and its sociolegal theories. Moreover, I started to work ina project for a workshop to be proposed on these issues. This research is parte of a project with support from CNPq and my stay at the institute partially covered by USP/PROEX/CAPES.

tThe second is on nationalisation of privatized public ventures on strategic assets, public services and natural resources exploitation. This research is in the field of political economy and economic sociology and seeks to understand the institutionalizaiton of social relations and its effects on economic efficiency and distribution of wealth. The core hypothesis is that the tranfer of socially sensitive and strategically assets from the state to private players, as well as the use of private corporations standards to run public enterprises, do not imply more efficiency, nor better distributional effects. The minimisation of the state down to the point it is not more than the muscle of elitist interests and the guardian of institutional arrangements that perpetuate underdevelopment and social inequalities is part of a political effort to eradicate democratic control of economic issues. There are also important literature on nationalisation and economic sociology on the institute library that is very useful for the project I share with Prof. Dr. Gilberto Bercovici, a colleague at University of São Paulo. We hold the intention to offer a graduate course at our faculty and publish a book on the nationalization of illegitimaly sold Brazilian assets, specially regarding the illegitimate liquidation sales promoted by the current Brazilian government.
The IISJ is the best place to research and write that I know. The city, in the heart of Euskadi, is very cozy and its people heartly receptive. Beyond the installations of the institute and the residence (the Antia Palace), there is an environment full of inspiring and calming elements that both help to focus on work and allows a renewing daily experience: wonderful gastronomy, walks on the beautiful hills and a strong contact to the basque culture both in Oñati and close cities, such as Donostia/San Sebastián, Bilbo and Gasteiz/Vitoria. It is also rewarding to know and interact with the master students and participants of the workshopes, even if you are not enrolled in it. As always, a wonderful experience.

Eskerrik asko, aukera zoragarriagatik!