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Volume 55 / Social Sciences


PEGGY A. LOVELL, Assistant Professor of Sociology, University of Pittsburgh

THE SOCIOLOGICAL LITERATURE on Brazil reviewed in this section includes articles and books published between 1990-94. Confronted by deepening social inequalities during this period, the tendency among Brazilian and Brazilianist scholars is toward studies that examine the ways in which gender, racial, religious, class, and regional differences are interrelated. Sociologists of gender, for example, have contributed a number of studies on how gender identities and inequalities are shaped by class and race (items bi 95010437 and bi 95011360). Research on Brazilians of African descent also reflects that trend. Three excellent contributions on the changing dynamics of race relations are those by Thomas Skidmore (item bi 94001253), Howard Winant (item bi 95011361) and Silva and Hasenbalg (item bi 94003611).

With the consolidation of civilian rule in the early 1990s, a continuing theme in recent scholarship is the role of social movements in the political transition. Studies of labor movements investigate the role of unions (item bi 95011057), and Ruth Corrêa Leite Cardoso analyzes the negotiation process among social movements, political parties, and the State (item bi 94002555). Other studies examine the role of the Catholic Church and Christian Base Communities (CBCs). Works include studies of Catholicism and political action (item bi 93021386), the influence of the Church and the feminist movement on women (item bi 94006451), and empirical studies of CBCs (items bi 94003327 and bi 95004040). Studies of religion also analyze the growing religious diversity among the poor (item bi 95010482).

In the Editor's Note to HLAS 52 and HLAS 53, Dolores Moyano Martin noted that the study of violence has become a recognized specialty in Latin America. In Brazil, scholars who study violence often examine the effects of violence on women and children. Notable examples of such writing are Marlise Vinagre Silva's Violência contra a mulher: quem mete a colher? which analyzes the sociopolitical significance of police delegations specialized in attending women (item bi 94003630) and Gilberto Dimenstein's investigation of forced child prostitution in the Brazilian Amazon (item bi 94003655).

Environmental issues in Brazil continue to command attention. Research includes Emilio F. Moran's analysis of the range of human and ecological diversity present in the Amazon Basin (item bi 95010502), Ana Luiza Ozorio de Almeida's study of directed colonization in the 1970s (item bi 94000900), and Wood and Schmink's article on the role and changing strategies of the military in developing the Amazon (item bi 93025211). Set against the backdrop of the current international debate on population growth and development, several publications discuss the changes in fertility in Brazil and the reproductive rights of women (items bi 93020087, bi 94003933, and bi 94003598). An emerging area of sociological inquiry is popular culture, especially the media (items bi 94001999 and bi 94003603).

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