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Power and the Ruling Classes in Northeast Brazil
Juazeiro and Petrolina in Transition


Part of Cambridge Latin American Studies

  • Date Published: November 2006
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521028813

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About the Authors
  • This case study of the structure of power and ruling-class domination in the heart of the sertão of Northeast Brazil is based upon six field trips over a period of fifteen years. Analysis of the political economy of Juazeiro, Bahia, and Petrolina, Pernambuco - two contiguous towns along the São Francisco River - focuses on the history of patriarchal families, ruling class, and patrimonial governments. Family dominance is related to the rise of the Coelhos in Petrolina and the decline of the Vianas in Juazeiro. Agressive tactics and links to Recife allowed the Coelhos to expand and assume control over most commerce in Petrolina and neighbouring municipalities to Juazeiro. In both situations the intervention of the state in the region, usually bolstered by international credits, affected traditional standards of living. The construction of the Sobradinho Dam, for example, brought problems for small farmers along the banks of the São Francisco who could no longer count on the natural flow of river water. State policy also favored corporations to the detriment of small producers on cooperative farms.

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    Product details

    • Date Published: November 2006
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521028813
    • length: 404 pages
    • dimensions: 228 x 152 x 24 mm
    • weight: 0.6kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    List of tables and figures
    Part I. The Traditional Sertão:
    1. The background
    2. The structure of power and the ruling class
    3. Juazeiro: cohesion and factionalism
    4. Petrolina: patriarchy and family dominance
    5. The ruling class and the polity
    6. The ruling class and the economy
    7. The ruling class in civic and social life
    8. Ideology
    9. Development and underdevelopment
    10. Participation, mobilization, and conflict
    Part II. The Sertão Revisited:
    11. Political challenge to traditional hegemony
    12. State intervention and the prospects for capitalist accumulation

  • Author

    Ronald H. Chilcote, University of California, Riverside

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