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Workers in Brazil: identities, rights and politics (17th to the 20th Century)

Grant number: 06/57297-1
Support Opportunities:Research Projects - Thematic Grants
Duration: August 01, 2007 - July 31, 2012
Field of knowledge:Humanities - History - History of Brazil
Principal Investigator:Silvia Hunold Lara
Grantee:Silvia Hunold Lara
Host Institution: Instituto de Filosofia e Ciências Humanas (IFCH). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil
Pesquisadores principais:
Maria Clementina Pereira Cunha ; Robert Wayne Andrew Slenes ; Sidney Chalhoub
Associated grant(s):09/11097-0 - A social history of the Labor Courts: the struggle for workers' rights (1930-1970), AV.EXT
Associated scholarship(s):10/20558-8 - The conquest of labor rights: labor law in Rio Grande do Sul state between 1958 and 1964, BP.DR
11/03098-6 - The strike against the justice: workers, direct action and the labour courts (1954-1963), BP.IC
11/00070-3 - CNT and Labor Regulations on First Republic (1923 - 1930), BP.IC
+ associated scholarships 10/00162-2 - Illegal enslavement and the precariousness of freedom in 19th-Century Rio de Janeiro (1830s to 1880s), BE.PQ
10/07572-1 - Slavery and the Means of Freedom in the São Pedro's West Frontier: politics of domain and strategies of slaves and ex-slaves (Brazil/Uruguay, Nineteenth- Century)., BP.DR
10/09126-9 - Catholicism and labour: militant culture of Belo Horizonte workers (1909-1941), BP.DR
10/03705-7 - "Em casa de ferreiro pior apeiro": iron workers trajectories (Vila Rica, 1750-1795), BP.MS
10/04520-0 - The city under the rule of law: experiences of citizenship in post-Abolition Florianopolis (1890-1930), BP.MS
09/17164-0 - The Artistic Union: specialized workers, identity of class and claim of rights; Recife, in the late decades of the 19th century, BP.PD
09/09117-2 - The meanings of May 13th: the Abolition and the workers in sugar mils in South Zona da Mata of Pernambuco, 1885-1893., BP.DR
09/09115-0 - Strong ties in shabby lines: experiences of black intellectuals in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo newspapers at the end of the nineteenth century (1880-1910), BP.DR
09/09068-1 - Laws in change: workers and labour legislation before the consolidation of labour laws - CLT (1937 - 1943), BP.IC - associated scholarships


This project focuses on the way workers (enslaved or free, native-born or immigrants, men or women, whites, blacks or Indians) attributed political meanings to different aspects of their daily !ife, whether in the workplace or in spaces of sociability and leisure, for the resolution of conflicts with masters, employers or public authorities. The objective is to examine the process by which workers constituted themselves as political agents and were recognized as such. The project aims at studying crucial aspects of the history of labor in Brazil from the seventeenth to the twentieth century, by carrying out research on carefully delimited questions, while oriented by more general concerns. It seeks, in this way, not just to deepen our knowledge of particular themes (revindicatory movements, forms of political association and participation, workers' cultural practices), but also to broaden fields of study that have recently attracted scholars' attention, such as the social history of juridical and legal practices. The research proposed here is organized around two lines of inquiry. One aims at understanding how diverse worker identities took shape, expressed and transformed themselves through laborers' participation in the public sphere. It focuses on the making of traditions, customs and shared identities that served as a basis for workers' actions and for the formation of associative groups (religious, recreative, trade-unionist, aimed at mutual aid), with the objective of perceiving the multiple forms of workers' practice, be it when they defined themselves primarily with reference to their relations of production, or when they went beyond institutionalized spaces and constructed different social identities. The second line of inquiry focuses on how this cultural dimension (in different situations and historical contexts) was present in the revindication of rights, and how demands of this nature were expressed and resonated in the public sphere. To this end, it discusses the ways in which workers used symbolic spaces and "established" points of view, or institutional channels and legal/juridical mechanisms, to express their pleas, interpret laws or restructure social spaces to their benefit. (AU)

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