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Periphery as a common ground: a comparative study of PhD dissertations on urban São Paulo (Brazil and United States, 1940s-2010s)

Grant number: 19/25594-7
Support type:Scholarships abroad - Research
Effective date (Start): August 25, 2021
Effective date (End): December 17, 2021
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Sociology - Urban Sociology
Principal researcher:Bianca Stella Pinheiro de Freire Medeiros
Grantee:Bianca Stella Pinheiro de Freire Medeiros
Host: Bryan McCann
Home Institution: Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas (FFLCH). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Research place: Georgetown University, United States  

Abstract

São Paulo, Brazil's economic capital with a population of 12 million people, is a privileged object for those interested in urban issues worldwide. Since the 1940s, it has inspired thousands of PhD dissertations on spatial and social segregation, democratic development and socio-economic inequality, crime and violence, citizenship and urban change. From this vast production, this research project aims at a comparative analysis between the set of PhD dissertations presented in graduate programs in Brazil and the United States which elect so-called periferias as the empirical ground and/or interpretative key for deciphering the urban complexities of the largest metropolis in South America. Examining what has been produced throughout seven decades in graduate programs in the Social Sciences and the Humanities, in the two countries, my goal is to provide an analytical panorama that allows to: a) comparatively examine how the authors conceptualize periferia and correlated terms from the same semantic field (favela, e.g.); b) the disciplinary fields where this intellectual production is forged, mapping continuities and thematic ruptures; c) disseminate the legacy of this vast, yet little-known, collection. Following Latour and Woolgar (1979) on the social construction of scientific terms and Urry (2007) on the transnational mobilities of concepts and theories, I also aim to produce an intellectual cartography of such material, relating the institutional affiliations of its authors to the themes they cover and analytical lens they use. For this meta-analysis, I will depart from the collective efforts of UrbanData-Brasil/CEM: Bibliographic database about urban Brazil, a research project that I lead at the Center for Metropolitan Studies (CEM/Cepid/FAPESP - University of São Paulo). This comparative research project will also immensely benefit both from the dialogues with colleagues of the Latin American Studies at Georgetown University as well as from the library resources of the Washington, D.C. area. (AU)

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