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Right, favour, justice: Navy Arsenal workers and the construction of citizenship in Rio de Janeiro during the second half of the nineteenth century

Grant number: 17/10459-1
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctorate
Effective date (Start): August 01, 2017
Effective date (End): July 31, 2019
Field of knowledge:Humanities - History - History of Brazil
Principal researcher:Fernando Teixeira da Silva
Grantee:David Patrício Lacerda
Home Institution: Instituto de Filosofia e Ciências Humanas (IFCH). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:13/21979-5 - Between slavery and the burden of freedom: workers and forms of labor exploitation in historical perspective, AP.TEM


This Postdoctoral Project explores relations between citizenship, politics, and worlds of labour. Its goal is to investigate multiples forms to define, practice and perceive the citizenship in the context of slave society from a particular case study. The Navy Arsenal located in Rio de Janeiro was the largest and the more important industrial complex administered by the Brazilian State in the second half of the nineteenth century. In this period, the Ministry of Navy organised the production arrangements and introduced a social protection policy into the arsenals to save and retain the wide free workforce used in workshops of shipbuilding, machines, and artillery. Many workers conducted a lot of petitions to inspectors and other authorities of the arsenal hopping to obtain some benefit to minimize insecurities that they have experienced in the workplace and in daily life. The practice to write and send petitions for the naval shipyard structures vertical relations with the State and its agents. At the same time, this practice demonstrates modes of action and political behaviour of segments of subaltern classes linked to the arsenal. In other words, the act of petitioning can be understood as an art of claiming rights based on the appeal for elements of deference from paternalist language. This postdoctoral proposal is associated to the goals of Thematic Project "Between slavery and the burden of freedom: workers and ways of exploitation of labour in historical perspective", developed in CECULT-UNICAMP. Its empirical basis is supported by various primary resources, such as legislation, reports, opinions, and consultations written by Ministry of Navy and Naval Council, in addition to petitions, newspapers, administrative, and judicial documents.

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