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ONE OF THE MOST INTERESTING TRENDS in the sociological literature produced on Brazil in the mid-1990s is the increasing centrality of race. Issues of race were examined by a small group devoted to research on social stratification, whereas much of the literature reviewed in this volume considers race in shaping all social relations. Leading studies examine the relationship between race and violence, gender, identity, social movements, political change, labor, the media and religion. The racial character of Brazil’s national identity as inspired by Gilberto Freyre is the subject of a book which offers a new and rich interpretation of his major works (item bi 97010227). Two provocative articles analyze the interrelations between racial, social and cultural dimensions of constructing black identity (items bi 95022415 and bi 96017540).
Feminist scholars continue to lead the discipline in their theoretical, methodological and empirical analyses of the sociology of gender. Estudos Feministas is an excellent journal of leading scholarship in this field. Studies on education, work, family, domestic violence, protest, health, sexuality and political participation have moved beyond a singular focus on women. Instead, gender is examined as a relational concept where the emphasis is on the differential experiences of women and men. Two historical studies are an analysis of coffee cultivation challenging both “family-blind” and “gender-blind” analyses of socioeconomic process and change (item bi 95008300) and a study of changing gender ideologies (item bi 97010220). Other works provide important summaries of Brazil’s feminist movement and women’s political history (items bi 95007534 and bi 95018644).
Sociologists of Brazil continue to examine social violence and human rights abuses. Centers for the study of violence have been established at several universities including the Nucleo de Estudos da Violencia at the Univ. de S˜ao Paulo. Notable contributions in this area are an analysis of racial discrimination in the criminal justice system (item bi 97010224) and two vivid accounts of human rights violations (items bi 97010222 and bi 96021215).
Two traditional areas of interest have been religion and the environment. Sociologists of religion continue to contribute a number of studies on the growth of Protestant fundamentalist groups, cleavages within the Catholic Church, and religious behavior and attitudes (items bi 95002416, bi 96009897, and bi 96001504). However, fewer environmental studies were produced in this period, reflecting an overall decline in attention to the social implications of environmental change.