Accepted paper:

Governing the House. State Projects, Domestic Practices and Autonomy in Land Reform Settlements in Brazil


Benoît de L' Estoile (CNRS, Ecole normale supérieure PSL)

Paper short abstract:

This paper considers the house, as one main focus of tension between the government by the State agencies and daily practices in three Brazilian land reform settlements (assentamentos) in the Northeast region of Brazil.

Paper long abstract:

While Brazilian government agencies set up projects of "housing units" in land reform settlements (assentamentos), the understanding by local project beneficiaries of what a house means is different: for them, a 'casa' refers to a construction (or part of it), whose physical and moral boundaries are shifting across time and changes in family configurations . Concerns for "sustaining the house", as a means to insure life and good life are linked to the double striving for autonomy and protection, and imbued with the effort to claim one's moral value. Ethnography offers a way to reconceptualise as "domestic government" what has usually been conceived of as "domestic economy", highlighting the political and moral aspects that are crucial for our interlocutors in the field.

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