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Revolution in the Terra do SolThe Cold War in Brazil$
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Sarah Sarzynski

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781503603691

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9781503603691.001.0001

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Masculinity, Barbarism, and Honor

Masculinity, Barbarism, and Honor

Representations of the Cangaceiro

(p.65) 2 Masculinity, Barbarism, and Honor
Revolution in the Terra do Sol

Sarah Sarzynski

Stanford University Press

This chapter examines how masculinity defined political and cultural struggles through the appropriations of the cangaceiro (backlands bandit) as a symbol of Northeastern identity. In speeches, popular poetry, and newspapers, the Ligas positioned the cangaceiro as an autochthonous guerrilla, building support for the movement through appeals to rural men to protect their wives and daughters from the landowners. Landowners and conservatives who opposed agrarian reform relied upon ideas of the cangaceiro as barbaric, excessively violent, and illegal to bolster arguments for greater state control in the countryside. Filmmakers began producing one of the most prolific genres of Brazilian cinema to date, the Nordestern (Brazilian Western), starring cangaceiros as hybrid cowboy/Indian/bandit characters. The competing appropriations of the cangaceiro as a Northeastern symbol reflect how the Cold War context intertwined with regional historical narratives in debates over Northeastern identities and politics, both reshaping and upholding entrenched narratives of o Nordeste.

Keywords:   social banditry, cangaceiro, masculinity, cultural representations, rural social movements

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