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Volume 53 / Social Sciences


KEITH D. MULLER, Assistant Professor of Geography, Kent State University

THE PREDOMINANT GEOGRAPHIC LITERATURE ON BRAZIL for this HLAS volume focuses on Amazonian topics ranging from deforestation and government policies to mineral extraction, settlement and planning, and the internationalization of scientific research. A smaller number of investigations discussed drought, out-migration, and regional development in the Northeast. Other regions received much less attention. Topical studies covered urban S˜ao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and Brasília. The 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro will certainly promote greater focus on environmental issues in the future, although current studies on this issue are somewhat limited.

Literature on Amazonia continues to increase, but most works involve general rather than detailed research. Becker (item bi 92003387) interprets the process of settlement and planning, while Aubertin discusses the colonization of Amazonia and the states of Paraná and Goias (item bi 91005409). Other works provide readers with a comprehensive overview of the region (items bi 91005406, bi 91006022, bi 91006273, and bi 91005420). The proceedings from a S˜ao Paulo conference on Amazonia raises numerous questions (item bi 91005397).

Mineral extraction from Grande Carajás in Amazonia is an important issue facing Brazil. Analyses of bauxite mining (items bi 91025077 and bi 91025194) and of Indians and hydroelectric dams (item bi 91005398) offer insight into the region. Garrido proposes a methodology for the study of issues related to mining in Amazonia (item bi 90011678).

Miscellaneous Amazonia topics include the creation of nature reserves (item bi 91004249), extractive reserves (item bi 91025192), and ecologic/economic zones (item bi 90011941). Works by Vieira and Dematte (items bi 91005421 and bi 91005415) describe and classify soils, and Eden (item bi 91006997) discusses vegetation and soils related to pasture in Roraima. Kohlhepp advocates internationalizing the region's scientific research (item bi 90010735). Development along the Transamazonian (item bi 91000439) and BR 364 Highways (item bi 91025189) is discussed. An excellent analysis by Melo and Moura (item bi 93007658) on Manaus and its hinterland stresses population and migration in the context of regional development. In a journalistic account, Hecht and Cockburn raise important questions confronting the region (item bi 91002222).

Several studies examine social and economic concerns of the Northeast. Andrade (items bi 90010740, bi 92003391, and bi 93008063) argues that the rural masses are proletarianized in areas of sugarcane production. Heredia (item bi 93007662) also offers a well-researched case study of the social implications of sugarcane expansion. Bicalho and Hoefle (item bi 91001287) examine the rural transformation of the Agreste through cattle ranching and of the sert˜ao through irrigation projects. Analyses of large government irrigation projects of the Rio S˜ao Francisco also appear (items bi 90011905 and bi 92001179). Other topics concerning the Northeast include drought (item bi 90011906), industrial pollution (item bi 91025084), and the conflict between food crop and sugarcane production (item bi 89001751).

Studies on urban topics, most written in Portuguese, also center on social and economic issues, especially in Rio de Janeiro and S˜ao Paulo. Rezende (item bi 91005438) discusses historical perspectives of Rio de Janeiro, and Barros (item bi 91004835) analyzes the impact of sidewalk vendors in Rio de Janeiro and S˜ao Paulo. An investigation of S˜ao Paulo's residential areas, by social group, is undertaken (item bi 91004813). Other studies examine the relationship between shopping centers and land values (item bi 91004820) and the socioeconomic effect of large-scale supermarkets (item bi 91004832).

The question of the "success" of Brasília remains open to debate. Lucarelli et al. (item bi 90011677) examine the impact of the city on the nation, and especially on Rio de Janeiro. Others review the historical development (item bi 91005422) and the influence of federal governmental policies on residential mobility in Brasília (item bi 91025074). Several authors explore a variety of topics related to the city (items bi 91005429, bi 92014494, and bi 91005413).

Urban studies from other parts of Brazil include two from the state of S˜ao Paulo. Damiani reviews industrial expansion and the expropriation of slums in Cubat˜ao (item bi 91004817). Devescovi interprets historical influences of coffee production and perspectives on industry and labor in S˜ao Carlos (item bi 91005423). Neves analyzes population growth in Bahia from 1970-80 (item bi 89001742).

Several noteworthy studies emphasize urban processes throughout Brazil. Godfrey characterizes Brazilian cities historically and perceives changes from European to North American forms, structures, and functions (item bi 93007652), and Davidovich discusses recent spatial tendencies in urbanization (item bi 91004913).

Brazil is rapidly modernizing its agricultural base, a development that has profound socioeconomic implications. These issues are addressed by Muller (items bi 93007650 and bi 93007654) and by Fleichfresser (item bi 93008060). Gerardi (item bi 91025080) and Bastos (item bi 89014779) relate that the small traditional farms of S˜ao Paulo state are stagnating, while large, modernized operations are expanding their holdings. Other agricultural topics include land tenure issues in the state of Rio de Janeiro (item bi 90011087), babassu palm in the North (item bi 91004921), diversified agroforestry in the Northeast (item bi 91005440), and cacao in Bahia (item bi 91004922).

Literature on the environment in Brazil continues to grow. Oliveira and Kacowicz's outline of Brazil's environmental quality discusses legislation, ecosystems, and coastal and marine pollution (item bi 91005396). Also of use are a directory of national environmental institutes (item bi 92003389), a regional approach to ecological strategies (item bi 91025191), and the proceedings from an international conference on the Pantanal (item bi 91005407).

The Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística continues to publish valuable contributions to Brazilian geography. The first three of five volumes by IBGE on Brazilian regions - Central West, South, and North (item bi 91005402) discuss various physical and human geographic aspects. Finally, a special issue by IBGE covers a wide range of geographical topics for the 1980s (item bi 91005401).

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