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|Title:||Urban labor history in twentieth century Brazil|
|Keywords:||História do Trabalho|
|Publisher:||University of New Mexico; Brazilian Studies Association|
|Citation:||Brazilian curriculum guide specialized bibliography|
|Abstract:||An important strain of Brazilian social thought, even among the dominant classes, has long recognized the conflicting interests that divide those who labor and those who are labored for. More than a century after Santos Vilhena, Brazilian industrialistJorge Street was equally frank in a fa mousJune 1919 article on the "social question." Although dealing with "free" labor in an emerging industrial society, Street wrote that "inevitable, grave disagreements and antagonisms" were created because of the work er's "absolute dependence" upon his employer, which allowed manage ment "to impose the maximum of production for the minimum of salary" while regulating wages and working conditions according to its "advantage and needs.,,2 Writing a year earlier, the industrialist and future Senator Roberto Simonsen was likewise forthright. The workers, he wrote, favored a goal of "limited output and unlimited salaries," while the employers held to a "diametrically opposed point of view." Thus the industrialist, seeking "to pay the least possible for each unit of production," confronted his workers, who sought "the highest possible pay for each unit of time.,, Street and Simonsen shared with Santos Vilhena a recognition of the structural roots of social antagonism. They differed from their Bahian predecessor, however, because their vision was rooted in the emerging so cial reality of industrial wage labor in a handful of cities like Sao Paulo and Rio deJaneiro. Yet the extent and impact of this incipient process of eco nomic and social transformation in 1920 can be easilyoverestimated. Early twentieth century Brazilwas still an essentially agrarian and rural society characterized by an undemocratic system of oligarchicparliamentarianism. In truth, Brazilin 1920 shared more in common with the society of a century earlier than it would with the Brazil of sixty years later. By 1980, Brazil had been transformed into an overwhelminglyurban and heavily in dustrialized society that was characterized by masspolitical participation as well as an anti-democratic military dictatorship. These profound social and economic transformations were directly linked to Brazil's rapid economic growth between 1950 and 1980, years in which the population soared from 52 to 119 million residents. "Between 1947 and 1980, the Brazilian Gross National Product grew at an average rate of7.1 %annually" while manufac turing grew at an average annual rate of8.5% spurred by "the remarkable expansion of the durable consumer goods industry, which grew at an aver age rate of 15.3 percent annually, reaching growth rates of over 23% annu ally at the expansive moments of the cycles" such as 1955-1962 and 19671973 (Faria in Bacha and Klein 1989: 145). These four decades of accelerated economic growth had a pro found, transfonnative impact on Brazilian society.4 By 1980, the economi cally active population in manufacturing, mining construction, and transport in Brazil had doubled from 15% in 1920 (1,443,000 employed) to 29% in 1980 (12,572,000 employed) (Keck 1992: 12-13). As late as 1950, only 2 I % of the Brazilian population lived in cities of more than 20,000 residents while 58% of employment was still tied to agriculture and mining; thirty years later 46%lived in such cities and only half as manyjobs were linked to agriculture and mining (Faria in Bacha and Klein 1989: 1434). Overall, Brazil's urban population had increased from 36% in 1950 to 68% by 1980 while non-agricultural employment, as a percentage of the economically active population, had increased from 40% to 71% of the population (Merrick in Bacha and Klein 1989: 16). Although the Brazil of 1920 is demographically and economically distant from the society of 1980, the existence of workers and workers' movements link the worlds of early and late twentieth century Brazil. Street and Simonsen were preoccupied with the "social question," after all, be cause of the impact of the unprecedented generalized strike movements of 1917-1919 that swept cities such as Sao Paulo, Rio deJaneiro, Porto Alegre, and Salvador. With industrial workers numbering less than a quar ter million in a nation of31 million in 1920, the struggles of this tiny minor ity of urban workers were enough to frighten employers and the oligarchical state but fur too weak to threaten their control or to win effec tive legal recognition of trade unions. Although Brazil's first national workers' congress was held in 1906, the highly visible social protagonism demonstrated by urban work ing people in 1917 announced the arrival of a new socialand political actor on the national scene. Coinciding with the Russian Revolution, the strikes that paralyzed the nation's urban centers, however briefly, came as an enor mous shock to the Brazilian establishment while seemingto offera political opportunity for other, discontented, groups. Indeed, the effort to come to terms with this "threat" and "promise" would preoccupy the statecraft of GetUlioVargas when he came to power after the Revolution of19:30. The Vargas regime's intricate corporatist system of state-sponsored and state-fi nanced trade unions would decisively shape the subsequent trajectory ofla bor in Brazilian society; in addition, it defined the terrain of later academic debates about workers and their role. The new urban workers' struggles of the early twentieth century stood in marked contrast to Brazil's past history of popular mobilization in the countryside (slave rebellions, runaway slave communities [quilombos], riots [quebra-quebras], banditry, and messianicmovements). These strikes marked the fragile beginning of what would become, by the last quarter of the twentieth century, a vast and deeply-rooted trade union movement. In 1917, an activist minority of labor militants, nwnbering in the thousands at the most, was capable ofleading masses ofworkers in struggle in the face of vigorous opposition by employers and the state. Yet through no fault of their own, these labor militants were not yet capable of achieving an endur ing collective organization of wage earners. Inthe Brazil of 1920, it made no sense to even ask about the scale or reach of union membership, given the absence of sustained forms of representation. Trade unions by the 1970s, in contrast, were already large, well en trenched, and relatively powerful institutions that blanketed all comers of Brazil and encompassed both urban and rural laborers. Between 1960 and 1978, the number of union members had increased :3.5times among urban employees, going from 1.2 million to 4.35 million (in both years about 23% of the economically active population was found in industry). Given the lack of recognized legal unionization among rural working people in 1960, it was even more striking that rural union membership in 1978, at 4.5 mil lion, was larger than in the urban sector (Tavares de Almeida 198.'3:19.'3194; Maybury-Lewis 1994). Although severely restricted by an anti-labor military regime, the generation of Brazilian unionists active in the 1970s were operating from an institutional power base of some substance. Although facing a repressive government, a dynamic "New Unionism" emerged that was epitomized by Luis Inacio "Lula" da Silva, leader of the dramatic metalworkers strikes of 1978-1980 in the industrial ABC region of greater Sao Paulo. In dramatic struggles that galvanized the country, Lula and his compatriots proved themselves capable, in the long run, of more aggressively defending work ing-class interests while preserving and expanding their institutional power base. By 1992, the 7600 union locals in urban and rural Brazil had sixteen million members, almost as many unionists as the entire population of Bra zil in 1900 (17 million). Overall, the unionized were broken down into eight and a quarter million among urban workers and employees and seven and a half million among rural workers; the urbanites even included a half million unionized liberal professionals (DlEESE 1996: 1.'36-1.'38). But numbers are not everything, especially in a situation where tan gible government-mandated medical, dental, and legal benefits (assisten cia) have long se~ed as a powerful incentive for union affiliation. The key question is: how effectiveare the trade unions in contemporary Brazil? To what degree can they legitimately claim the loyalty of their members? And to what extent can they mobilize their members as well as those workers they only represent in negotiations with employers? One measure of a la bor movement's capacity for mobilization can be seen by looking at trends in strike participation across time. Ifstrikers measured in the thousands in 1917, the numbers had risen into the tens of thousands by 1946 and to hundreds of thousands between 1957 and 1964. By 1980, mass participa tion in the strike waves of the late 1970s had reached into the millions and a newly dynamized trade union movement proved capable, over the next decade, of conducting truly national general strikes for the first time in Bra zilian history. It is estimated that two to three million workers and employ ees participated in the 1983 general strike, a number that rose to 10 million each in 1986 and 1987, before finally peaking at 22 million on the first day of the 1989 general strike (10 million still stayed out on the second day!). Inthe 1989 stoppage, it is estimated that a startling37 percent of the urban work force had participated in the first day of the general strike (Sandoval 1993: 186). . The unfolding of these four general strikes demonstrated an un precedented capacity for coordinated national action by labor. Achieving a striking degree ofleadership centralization, each successive movement was marked by an increasing breadth of participation as more and more states joined the protests. Moreover, within each state there was an extension of strike participation into smaller cities and towns as the strike movements became less concentrated in state capitals and large cities (Sandoval 1993: 186). Yet this capacity to launch protest strikes, at a moment of severe economic instability, may not be the most meaningfultest of the strength of workers' struggles. It ispossible, after all, that workers, as well as the wider society, may grant the legitimacy of trade union action only when it is nar rowly restricted to economic questions directly concerned with workers' paychecks or employer/employee relations. Given this reality, it is sensible to ask whether organized workers in Brazilhave achieved any broader in fluence in the society and polity as a whole. In 1917, the workers move ment had a minimal political impact due, in no smallpart, to the absence of significant political participation of any sort in most of the country (elector al participation stood at one percent of the adult population in the elections prior to 1930). The advent of effective mass political participation in the 1945 elections, by contrast, saw worker-oriented parties (the Partido Co munista doBrasil and the Partido Trabalhista doBrasil) sweep urban vot ing with the newly-legalized Communists winning a surprisingly high ten percent of the national vote. Although more diffuse, the impact of workers continued to grow during the subsequent Populist Republic from 1945 to 1964 as the urban and working class population increased over the next de cades. When the political sequel to the "New Unionism" emerged in 1979 (the Partido dos Trabalhadores), the PT's labor-led project of social and political transformation demonstrated a surprising long-term capacity for growth. In the elections of 1988, the PT won the municipal governments in Brazil's largest city (Sao Paulo), two other state capitals (Porto Alegre and Vit6ria), and several medium-sized cities including the old "Red port" of Santos (the Brazilian Barcelona of the First Republic and a center of Communist strength prior to 1964). "Altogether some fifteen million Bra zilians, about ten per cent of the population, came under PT rule" (Bran ford and Kucinski 1995: 79). In the first round of the 1989 presidential election, the PT's candi date Lula won 12 million votes (16.5% of the national vote) while his vote total in the second round rose to 31 million (43%); in the end, he lost to the candidate of the right, Fernando Collor, by only six percent of the national vote. In the presidential election 0£1994, Lula lost to Fernando Henrique Cardoso, a former leftist who was the candidate of a right/center-left coali tion, but still increased his votes to 17 million (27% of the national elector- ate) in the first, and only round of the election.5 Clearly, there are finn grounds for concluding that Brazilian work ers and workers' movements have established themselves, across the twen tieth century, as social and political actors of the first order. Yet few ifany scholars or commentators have chosen, even today, to narrate the history of Brazil's workers in such up-beat terms: as the story of an expanding, evermore organized, and more deeply rooted movement that has achieved re markable success in both the industrial relations and political arenas. The predominance of more pessimistic narratives reflects the in ability of workers' movements, as yet, to fundamentally affectthe immense poverty and extreme social inequality that plague Brazil. Indeed, the high degree of concentration of wealth, land, and income links the eighteenth century Brazil of Santos Vilhena with the early twentieth century Brazil of Street and Simonsen; realities whose impact continues to be felt in Brazil as a new millennium approaches. As Hoffinan notes, Brazil is a world cham pion in inequality as well as soccer and represents a "classic case of rapid [economic] growth with growing income concentration" (Hoffinan in Bacha and Klein 1989: 198-99).6 In the mid-1980s, fifty percent of the na tional income was still taken by the top ten percent of households while the bottom forty percent received only seven percent of the national income (Bacha and Klein 1989: 7; DIEESE 1995). This historical legacy has had an important impact on Brazilian in tellectual and academic life as it concerns labor. Traditional historical stud ies in Brazil, noted the pioneering labor studies scholar Jose Albertino Rodrigues, had alwayspreferred the study of the distant colonial past and neglected the republican period and contemporary events. Moreover, the "individualistic and political-military preoccupations" of these early historians led to a neglect of economic and social factors (only in the 1930s would such topics come into focus with the innovative Marxist historiogra phy ofCaio Prado Junior) (Rodrigues 1979: 3-4). Yet these lacunae were not enough in themselves, Rodrigues ob served, to explain the "non-existence, until recently, of a concern" for ur ban laborers. Equally important, he argued, was the "strong dose of[ class] prejudice" and disdain towards work and workers "generated by our patri archal and slavocratic traditions" (Rodrigues 1979: 3-4). Indeed, the very origin of the most conunonly used Portuguese term for work and worker (as in trabalho or trabalhador) is directly linked to degraded and coerced la bor. The Latin origin of the verb trabalhar derives from the word tripa- liare meaning "to martyr with a tripaliu (an instrument oftorture).,,7 The strongly negative associations of the word "labor" was not unique, of course, to the Luso-Brazilian world. As Mexicanist social histo rianJohn Womack has reminded us, "in every European language, labor meant pain, "effort,pangs, distress, poverty, loneliness, abandonment, or deal, adversity, [and] trouble"; "labor was what slaves, serfs, or peasants did, typically in the fields, without the right to choose time or crop, subject to Nature, victims of necessity.,,8 The result, Womack noted, was a Euro pean intellectual tradition of disdain for labor and laborers stretching across two millennia; an attitude that was, at least ifnot more, strongly char acteristic of Brazilian slave-holding society and its weakly developed intel lectual life. It is thus not surprising that intellectuals in Brazil, where the final shift from ownership of human beings to "free" wage labor came in 1888, only began to direct their attention to labor and laborers in the mid-twenti eth century. During the 1910s and 1920s, interest in the workers' move ment began to appear as elements of the middle classes and elites came to see urban workers as potential allies intheir own emerging struggles, whether against middle class dependency upon their social superiors or in protest against rival regional oligarchies. More significantly, a small but in creasing number of intellectuals were attracted to labor-linked political ide ologies such as anarchism, Communism, and Marxism, which provided useful weapons in their struggle to simultaneously negate the existing order and to win a place for themselves within Brazilian society. Yet even as this interest emerged among some intellectuals, Rod rigues reminded us in 1968, urban workers and their political movements were still, for the most part, subject to the "full force of that [inherited class] prejudice" as well as "a certain amount of fear in the face of something that could threaten the bases of that same traditional society" (of which the mid dle classes were an important if dependent component). There was for many, he wrote in the aftermath of the 1964 military coup, "a fear of con fronting a taboo issue" when dealing with trade unionism, which was "more feared and misunderstood than studied according to objective crite ria" Oose A. Rodrigues 1979: 2-4). The scholarly neglect of urban workers first began to change in the 1950s in the south-central regions of Brazil. The unexpected political and industrial militancy of workers after 1945 attracted the attention of a newly professionalized class of academic intellectuals, especially a group of soci ologists associated with the Universidade de Sao Paulo. Although distant from the workers' movement, the young USP intellectuals clearly identified workers as an integral part of their broad vision of modernity, national de velopment, and democracy; the dream of "heavy industry guaranteed by universal suffrage" in the epigram of Alfredo Bosi.9 The process of approximation between intellectuals and the work ers' movement that began in the late Populist Republic was interrupted by the 1964 military coup with its extensive union interventions. The late 1960s, however, saw a generation of radicalized students take their politics with them into the blue collar workplace-often with limited direct impact, at least on workers--but this experience did acquire mythic proportions with memorable events like the 1968 strike in Osasco. Despite the subse quent dispersal of these student-associated labor initiatives, the terrain had nonetheless been laid for the enormous enthusiasm with which many intel lectuals met the massive auto strikes of the 1970s in ABC. The centrality of this generalized waveof industrial militancy to the national struggle against the military regime brought even more intellectu als into a dialogue with workers, as well as into the newly-formed PT (espe cially in Sao Paulo). The resulting flood of studies of workers and workers' movements emphasizedworking class autonomy as the center of scholarly and political debate. And unlike the previous generation, these researchers found ample evidence of the workers' capacity for agency, for changing the historical trajectory of the country. They also discarded, once and for all, the fatalistic notions of structural determination that characterized previous scholarly visions that had found workers to be "passive" or "accommodated". The ensuing labor studies boom in the 1980s was marked by a wide-ranging interest in different aspects of contemporary working class life and by an increasing concern with past periods of worker struggle. Yet with the exception of the pre-1930 anarchist era, the workers' movements after 1930 were almost always interpreted as dependent not autonomous in orientation given their link. to the state and to vanguard or populist parties. Approaching events in an ahistorical manner, as a complete novelty, most of these studies viewed the "New Unionism" and the PT as "totally without precedent in Brazilian working class history." As French noted in 1992, they "proved incapable of moving beyond images of corporatist domina tion, elite manipulation, or insidious co-optation in their effortsto come to terms" with workers' struggles before 1964 (French 1992: 282-3,268; French 1995).10 This combative stance, shared both by leaders of socialmovements and those who studied them, fit well into the upswing of struggles that marked a decade that finally brought an end to the military dictatorship in 1985. As a framework for political action and intellectual understanding, this emphasis on class conflict and an idealized "independence" of class ac tion worked well within a political dynamic still polarized between the pro and anti-military camps. It offered the forecast of an alternativefuture and helped inspire the very successes that would shift the nature of discourses about, and academic discussion of, popular organization and mobilization in Brazil after 1985. The resulting historiographical shift, that took hold in the 1990s, was linked to a new emphasis on "active citizenship.,,11The emergence of this type offonnula goes back to the 1984 campaignfor directelections for President and the 1992 movement in favor of the impeach ment of President Collor. Inboth cases, people in the vast majority of urban centers took to the streets in defense of a demand that united a wide politi cal and social spectrum around the desire to regain the right to elect the president or in indignation at the exposure of a level of presidential corrup tion that was shocking even for Brazilians historically accustomed to the private appropriation of the public good. As important as the diverse results of these mobilizations, however, was the way in which labor, leftist, and popular movements became insert ed in the new Brazilian polity after 1985. Inthis regard, labor's active par ticipation in the elaboration of the new democratic constitution of I 988 is symbolic. While labor and the left had participated in the constitutional de liberations ofI946, it was followed within the year by an outlawing of their party and suppression of the independent-minded labor movement. Look ing back at 1988, however, we see leftist parties that have now enjoyed more than a decade oflegal existence, as has a left-led national labor con federation-with each having achieved surprising successes. During the New Republic, workers, labor and leftist leaders have become increasingly involved with the construction and administration of a wide variety ofinsti tutions and programs that could be used to express worker protest and meet popular demands. Under these conditions, the labor movement in Brazil, as well as the political projects based on it, have confronted new problems of institutionalization, of participation, and negotiation. With time, the dichotomy of autonomy and dependence seemed insufficient as an instrument for understanding contemporary reality.12 The intellectual challenge was increasingly clear: How could scholarly analysis reflect or be useful to this generation of fighters in their new capacities as mayors, city councilmen, deputies, and senators; as municipal and state administrators and functionaries; as leaders of at-times quite powerful trade union organizations; or as militants in dangerous and difficult struggles, especially in the countryside, who nonetheless now have important allies within the Brazil ian political system and even the state (not to mention in the international arena as in the case of Chico Mendes and the rubber tappers). Therefore it is not surprising that "citizenship" would cometo play a more important role in the academic discussions of the 1990s regarding the relationship between society and politics, economy and polity, workers and the state. A new democracy logically demanded, it seemed clear, a no- tion of citizenship that differed from that of a dictatorship. IS From an intel lectual point of view, the concept was not new but the "wave" ofcitizenship that swept the country after 1992 prompted intellectuals to revise their ear lier framing of this key theme and opened space for the initiation of new lines of research in the history of Brazilian labor. The field of labor studies in Brazil today is in a state of transition that is strongly marked by the search for a convincing reconceptualization . of the history of past working class and popular struggles. In summary, one might argue that a shift is occurring in which history, not sociology, is in creasingly seen as the cutting edge of current efforts to advance our under- standing. 14 The new generation of Brazilian students oflabor are especially concerned to better understand the linkage between the struggles before 1964 and those that followed 1978. "The prominence and success ofla bor and the PT in the Nova RepUblica," French noted in 1992, "suggests the urgent need to deepen understanding of workers, trade unionism, and electoral politics between 1945 and 1964, during the last extended period of democratic rule. The issues facing workers and unionists today, it should be clear, are not totally new: these challenges have in fact been faced by previous generations, at times with success" (French 1992: 282; French 1995).15 The' challenge is clear: how are we to achieve a new way of under standing the history of workers in Brazil? How do we transcend the heated debates of the 1960s and 1970s, with their denunciations of populism, without losing the political and moral urgency that informed those clashes of opinion? And as we move beyond old polemics, how do we do so with out being dismissive or condescending? Perhaps it is not so much that the prior generation was wrong, as that their "mistakes" were "right" for that moment in the history of both Brazil and the academic field of inquiry. It may be that their efforts are simply inadequate in terms of the understand ing of past class conflicts that we need today, in light of contemporary prob lematics, both economic and political.Finally, how we are to learn new ways of telling the story of Brazil ianworkers and their struggles? How do we do so in a way that illwninates and empowers both workers and their allies? And how do we keep an eye on the prize while we are in the midst of explaining the give and take, ebb and flow, of everyday life and struggle. "Whatever their politics, the forces of labor in Brazil today will need a great deal of inspiration to meet the chal lenges they face. Their struggles will be made a trifle easier if they can feel at ease with past progressive and working-class struggles; if they can feelthe pride, accomplishments, and heroism of earlier generations; and if, after tasting the bitterness of past defeats, they can still understand the flawed and incomplete victories-but victories nonetheless-that followed" (French 1992: 283-4; French 1995). As we tackle these challenges, it is good to be reminded of the wise advice of Emilia Viotti da Costa who once "explained to a young assistant professor anxious to make his mark on the field that, while ambition is laud able, the most lasting intellectual contributions in history have come not from attacking parodied versions of earlier generations of scholars but from critical and respectful engagement with that work. Each generation of scholars [and activists] sees clearer and farther ifit can stand on the shoul ders of its predecessors" (French and James 1997: vii). This bibliography contributes to this process of scholarly rethink ing and re-vision-ing by laying out the impressive accomplislunents of those who have studied urban labor in Brazil. Looking back at the modest beginnings of this area of research at mid century, it is clear that Brazil has seen an extraordinary expansion in the number, quality, and sophistication of empirical studies of urban labor-with an increasingly broader represen tation of scholarly disciplines and geographical regions. These efforts at in tellectual comprehension are a tribute to the significance, influence, and increasing power of the new social class ofurban wage laborers in twentieth century Brazil. It is also a portent offuture changes in Brazil,whether hailed as a promise or utopia by some Brazilians or feared by others as a threat to their power and privileges. As we strive to better understand the Brazilian social formation in all its complexity, we must not forsake the linha mestre that links the intellectual study of labor to the social transformation that workers' movements have alwaysrepresented-and that is needed now, more than ever, in Brazil and the United States. Defining the Nature and Scope of this Bibliography This specialized bibliography focuses on urban wage labor in the twentieth century, especially in the industrial sector. Thus it does not cover the history of labor under slavery despite its relevance for the conceptual ization of the history of work and workers in Brazilian society (as argued in Reis 1997). Nor does it deal with the large literature on rural social move ments. Overall, it aims to provide a representative and comprehensive, but by no means exhaustive, inventory of the articles, books, and memoirs that have been most important to the study of the history of labor in Brazil (whether in terms of their coverage and findings or their place in the evolu tion of scholarly debate). In any such selection, important studies have no doubt been overlooked but we hope to rectify such shortcomings in an ex panded future Brazilian edition. his bibliography also has a clear thematic and analytical orienta tion: the primary focus is on organized workers' movements in their rela tionship to political and industrial life. Rather than focussing on the lives of all those who labor, we emphasize the collectiveexpressions of working class agency. The category ofworkers' movements,however, is not defined as being narrowly about trade unions as such (that is the labor movement proper). Rather, it includes the political projects, institutions, and move ments associated with organized workers; that is, attention is also paid to the wider penumbra of intellectual activists and leftist groups who play an important role not only in the functioning of the workers' movement but in defining its significance for society as a whole. This does not mean, howev er, that the bibliography deals comprehensively with leftist movements or intellectual life (although a slice of that literature is included where directly relevant to labor struggles). The bibliography consists of350 entries and a slighdy larger num ber of bibliographical citations. Although historically-oriented, the bulk.of the items are written by scholars from other fields, especially sociology, which was the first to take up the study of urban workers as an academic in quiry. There is also an overwhelming preponderance of Portuguese- lan guage works: only one in four of the entries are in English and, ifwe exclude English publications by Brazilians, the number ofworks by non-Brazilians falls to one in six. In compiling the bibliography, enough interesting, litde known and recently published items were included so that it should prove useful even to those who have already mastered the basic bibliography. A special effort was also made to list unusual items like memoirs, novels, plays, car toon collections, and photo albums. As much as possible, information has been included on both English and Portuguese editions in those cases where the work is available in both languages. Unfortunately, the vast quan tity of unpublished Brazilian conference papers, research reports, and the ses have not been included given the difficulty most readers would have in locating them for consultation. In a few instances, however, masters thesis and doctoral dissertations have been included where the work in question is of special significance or influence. Chronologically, only a few cites deal with the late nineteenth cen tury although coverage begins to pick up after 1906, the year of the first na tional workers' congress, and then becomes more voluminous after the upsurge of strikes and radicalism at the end of World War I.Works on the years up to 1930 constitute more than a quarter of the items overall, almost half deal with labor during the years between 19.30and 1964, and roughly one quarter cover the period after 1964 (where no attempt is made to be more than suggestive given the scope of scholarly production on contem porary labor). In terms of the organization of the bibliography, readers should be cautioned that items appear in only one section. A collection of primary source documents, for example, will appear only in part three even though it deals with a period covered in a later chronological section. Like wise, a book that crosses the chronological boundaries between sections will only be listed once in the time period that receives the greatest atten tion. Given the concentration of industrial workers and industrial pro duction in the south-central region of Brazil, it is not surprising that this bibliography concentrates on Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro trailed by Rio Grande do Sui and Minas Gerais. The Rio-Sao Paulo geographic bias mir rors the current contours offield of labor studies in Brazil. In most writing about "Brazilian" labor, as Silvia Petersen noted in 1995, "a part is taken for the whole" and the case of Sao Paulo-Rio, which is "also a regional study (even though undoubtedly the economically and politically hege monic region), isgiven a national or global definition" (Petersen 1995: 1.31- 2). The virtual absence ofmost of the Northeast from this bibliography is only the most glaring example of this geographic bias. It can be explained in part by a weakly integrated national intellectual market that is far from guaranteeing circulation from the periphery to the center. Moreover, it is also possible that some poorer and more weaklyindustrialized states may not yet have mobilized their scarce intellectual resources to examine what may seem, on the surface, to be a less significanthistory of workers' move ments in their respective states. Our false but operative definition of "Brazil," SilviaPetersen re minds us, also introduces important conceptual distortions into our under standing of the history of working people in Brazil(that is, of those who labor, meant in the broadest sense). To arrive at a truly national history, we will need to redefine and expand our existing analyticalcategories so that they can better encompass the diversity of interests, forms of organization, traditions and political cultures of Brazilian laboring folk.To remedy these glaring weaknesses, we will need to cross many frontiers, to use Petersen's apt metaphor, as we set out to increase the intellectualpower and reach of labor studies in the future.|
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