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Family trajectories and the formation of whiteness in Southern Brazil

Grant number: 14/24976-0
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): June 01, 2015
Effective date (End): June 26, 2019
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Sociology - Other specific Sociologies
Cooperation agreement: Coordination of Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (CAPES)
Principal Investigator:Antonio Sérgio Alfredo Guimarães
Grantee:Benno Victor Warken Alves
Home Institution: Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas (FFLCH). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Associated scholarship(s):16/20471-6 - The making of a white region in postwar South Brazil, BE.EP.DR

Abstract

The aim of this project is to investigate the formation of whiteness in Southern Brazil in the post-World War II period. Based on propositions of the critical whiteness studies, a tendency still not much developed in Brazil, and on some clues present in the Brazilian social thought tradition, I argue that in that moment have taken place some decisive transformations that shaped our current conceptions of "race". In the South, the region most affected by recent European immigration, a new boundary of whiteness was definitively traced. Inside it were included the immigrants and their descendants as well as the Brazilian whites of Portuguese origins. By the one hand, the process has been somehow important for the consolidation of the Southern identity as a white region, in contrast to the mixed/mulato Brazil. By the other, and this is what interests me the most, not only the racial ideas have been transformed, but also have changed, homologously, the relation between races and social classes. In general, the process meant the reinforcement of white supremacy: immigrants and their descendants, hence white Brazilians, could enjoy full citizenship, including the access to dominant positions in society; "colonial" whites of Portuguese origins, by their turn, had their whiteness secured instead of menaced by the presence of Germans, Italians, Polish etc. - seen by the time as more "pure" and European than them. I believe it is possible to trace the material aspect of this process by reconstructing the trajectories of immigrant families. Their class trajectories in the social space, their professions, circles of relations and acquaintances, marriages and, in general, the life histories of these families' members might show to what extent the suggestions contained in the intellectual debates and in the contemporary social thought are concrete. I will adopt a narrative strategy based on telling and analyzing these histories, a strategy in which the more abstract themes and discussions are approached according and in relation to them. The investigation, in itself, will focus on the city of Curitiba, a Southern capital of old colonial origin, but also deeply impacted by recent immigration. (AU)