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sexta-feira, setembro 22, 2006


Desenrascanço (loosely translated as "disentanglement"; pronounced: [dɨ.zẽ.ʁɐʃ.'kɐ̃.su]) is a Portuguese word used in certain specific contexts and situations. It is used to express an ability to solve a problem without the adequate tools or proper technique to do so, and by use of sometimes imaginative resourcefulness when facing new situations. Achieved when resulting in a hypothetical good-enough solution. When that good solution escapes us we get a failure (enrascanço — entanglement). Most Portuguese people strongly believe it to be one of their most valued virtues and a living part of their culture. However, some critics disagree with the association of desenrascanço to the Portuguese culture. They argue that this concept is related to the subjective evaluation of oneself, or of the Portuguese people, and that it belongs to the world of subjectivity and feeling. Some are of the opinion that the concept is related to the discoveries period of the 15th century. But sceptics doubt there is any substantial proof of that relation.

In the 16th and 17th centuries it was very common for other exploring nations, such as the Dutch, to bring a Portuguese national along during the voyages, because the Portuguese were allegedly the most skilled and knowledgeable in the proper handling of the occasional emergency aboard the ship when the control of the vessel was given to them (what is known among the Portuguese as "desenrascanço"). Desenrascanço is in fact the opposite of planning: it's managing that any problem does not get completely out of hand and beyond solution.


This "desenrascanço" or "desenrasco" (another common word for desenrascanço) is indeed the ability to solve problems in very adverse conditions, and Portuguese are forced to be good at it. Many of the Portuguese inventions in the Geneva Inventions Exhibition are an example of how desenrascanço is used to create new tools that are typically cheaper.

Does this mean that I'm not a good example, or am I just loosing my touch...?!? More at wikipedia.

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