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Immigrants, Elites and Society in São Paulo

Abstract

Immigrants, elites and society in São Paulo, is a two-year project to be carried out by a team of seven researchers with Ph.D's who will study the following themes in comparative perspective: - the conditions under which immigrants and their descendents established roots in São Paulo; - their survival strategies; - the social and political relations they established with the new society; - the influence of different immigrant currents on the composition of São Paulo elites and on local and state power structures. The bulk of the study consist of the collection and analysis of data regarding a variety of immigranty ethnic groups (Italians, Jews, Armenians, Japanese, Eastern Europeans, Koreans, and Bolivians) in urban areas during different periods of Brazilian history, as well as research on the characteristics of the receiving society in São Paulo. The central emphases for research and analysis will be: - agents for adaptation for immigrants such as: intellectuals, consular authorities of the countries of origin, leaders of immigrant communities and religious leaders; - urban segregation and relations between ethic groups; - immigrants and political elites in the "interior" of the state (areas other than the city of São Paulo). The data will be derived from: - research using documents found in public archives and in the various institutions for "cultural" preservation of each of the communities examined; -analysis of the newspapers of immigrant colonies, neighborhoods, the city of São Paulo and smaller cities; - interviews with the leaders of immigrant cultural, professional and political associations, and interviews with the past leaders of political parties, state assemblies and city councils; - statistical sources such as censuses and surveys. We hope by the end of the research to be able to: - produce more solidly-grounded knowledge about the processes of "integration" of various immigrant groups in São Paulo society, in order to refine the terms of the current debate regarding questions of "assimilation" and "ethnicity"; - understand the unique aspects of an important immigrant-receiving region, the state of São Paulo, in comparision to other regions of Brazil and other countries. (AU)

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