Accepted paper:

Development and dead cities in the Brazilian sertao: movement, fever and passion

Author:

André Dumans Guedes (Universidade Federal Fluminense)

Paper short abstract:

I discuss how the people living in a small city in the interior of Brazil describe the economic processes which have been shaping their lives in the last decades: the “creation” of the city by a mining company, the gold fever in the 1980’s and the building of three large dams.

Paper long abstract:

In this paper I show how the people living in a small city located in the Brazilian state of Goiás - in a so-called "frontier zone" - describe the "economic" processes which have been shaping and transforming their lives in the last decades: the gold fever in the 1980's, the building of three large dams and the complex relation between this city and the mining company which "created" it. In order to do so, I focus on the ideas of movement and fever, showing how this people are able, through the use of these categories, to reflect and act in the contexts created by these processes, something which allows us to think of them as not exactly (or only) "economic". These native ideas and descriptions allows us to consider critically some ideas quite common among social scientists studying issues such as the effects of large development projects or the modernization of traditional or backward areas - for example, the temporalities and time conceptions associated to such situations. More than inducing sudden or brutal ruptures in a traditional way of life, these movements associated to development projects tend to be considered by the people I work with as the return or comeback of process not exactly unknown to them. In order to present these points ethnographically, I discuss the different ways some specific resources are spent or saved; the connection between mobility and family issues; and the importance of the (re)searches people make in contexts of instability and change.

panel P107
Forms of government and everyday economic practices: ethnography and comparison