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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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The Coronel and the Rural Poor

The Coronel and the Rural Poor

Narratives of Class Struggle

(p.112) 3 The Coronel and the Rural Poor
Revolution in the Terra do Sol

Sarah Sarzynski

Stanford University Press

The third chapter evaluates discursive debates over the potential for change in Northeastern Brazil and competing descriptions of regional poverty as a motivation for or limitation to change. It examines representations of the nordestino landowning rural elite and the rural worker in the 1950s and 60s in popular culture, rural social movement publications, and conservative discourse. Although hegemonic perceptions of rural workers drew on historical notions of nordestino poverty as an inherent condition, rural social movements appealed to rural men’s honor and masculinity to encourage resistance to the landowner’s power, gain support for agrarian reform, and advocate for class struggle. At the same time, rural elites looked to the past to find a symbol for a “new Northeast.” In their effort to redefine the role of rural elites, they appropriated the historical figure of the coronél as a solution to poverty and inequality in Northeastern Brazil, applauding a patriarchal modernization.

Keywords:   poverty, rural poor, class conflict, rural elite, Delmiro Gouveia, US–Brazilian relations

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