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Under construction: Workmen in the city of São Paulo between 1775 and 1809

Grant number: 10/11486-3
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Master
Effective date (Start): March 01, 2011
Effective date (End): February 28, 2013
Field of knowledge:Applied Social Sciences - Architecture and Town Planning
Principal researcher:Ana Lucia Duarte Lanna
Grantee:Amália Cristovão dos Santos
Home Institution: Faculdade de Arquitetura e Urbanismo (FAU). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil


The following thesis opposes the depictions of poverty and isolation of the colonial town of São Paulo, and discusses its economic activities, urban development and population, through its particular characteristics, and not just from a comparative point of view. Our work is based on the assumption that the economic exploitation and the military defense executed by inhabitants of São Paulo shaped a territorial network, including villages, towns, counties and continents. This network organized the people and conditioned their living. In order to confirm this hypothesis we elected the town of São Paulo between the years of 1775 and 1809 as the subject of our research, to be studied through the municipal public works that built and rebuilt this town. The debates regarding the construction of the urban space and the population of such site have the following primary documental sources: The minutes of the town hall's reunions, the correspondence belonging to the county administrator (capitão-general), the colonial censuses, maps, and the records of public works contained among the municipal treasury official papers - there are over 500 unpublished documents, holding important data about the participants and the activities at the construction sites. The link between urban space and population through documental analysis guided by the debates regarding the two matters allowed us to broaden the understanding of urban growth and social relations amid inhabitants, leading us to dissolve those images of an empty typically rural town. The fundamental elements of this examination are the construction workmen, identified by their professional occupation, that created a distinguished work field with recurrent contracts. Only through the strategies of transfer of knowledge and experience that took place inside the houses and at construction sites could such field be formed. The municipal council, political core of the town, was another one of the places that sheltered this process, in which we must include captives, aggregated members of the household, and women, that performed essential activities. Ultimately, the disputes and differentiations between inhabitants and between regions of the town bring us to the conclusion that the late colonial São Paulo cannot be understood in any other way than through its mostly urban traces.

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Academic Publications
(References retrieved automatically from State of São Paulo Research Institutions)
SANTOS, Amália Cristovão dos. Under construction: workmen in the city of São Paulo between 1775 and 1809. 2013. Master's Dissertation - Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Faculdade de Arquitetura e Urbanismo (FAU/SBI) São Paulo.

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