The Moving Frontier: Social and Economic Change in a Southern Brazilian Community

The Moving Frontier: Social and Economic Change in a Southern Brazilian Community

The Moving Frontier: Social and Economic Change in a Southern Brazilian Community

The Moving Frontier: Social and Economic Change in a Southern Brazilian Community

Excerpt

I spent a total of seventeen months in northern Paraná. During the summer of 1966, I did a survey of the coffee-growing region extending north of Maringá to the Paranapanema River on the border with São Paulo, and west to Cianorte, a county founded in 1952 near the edge of the frontier. My home base during this stay was Fazenda Pitanga, a company-owned plantation in the county of Uniflor just south of Ouro Verde. The aim of the survey was to locate a representative community to serve as a focal point for further study of the socioeconomic changes occurring throughout most of the region. Since the study was to concentrate on the reasons for and effects of the gradual changeover from coffee to cattle through intensive research on the local level, I sought a community that typified these changes.

Ouro Verde, located about fifty kilometers northwest of Maringá, was well suited to the purpose of this study. Its brief history (it was founded in 1952) encompassed the forest-coffee-cattle sequence; yet it was not close enough to a complete substitution of cattle for coffee that one could not study the circumstances under which the changeover was taking place. Ouro Verde seemed about midway along a continuum whose extremes were communities still devoting most of their land to coffee cultivation and those where coffee had . . .

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