An ethnographic approach of politics in one-company towns in Brazil


Datum: måndag 29 maj 2023

Tid: 13.00 – 14.30

Plats: Latinamerikabiblioteket, hus B plan 5

Forkarseminarium med Andreza Aruska de Souza Santos från Latinamerikacentret vid Oxfords Universitet

Seminariet arrangeras i samarbete med Nordic Institute of Latin American Studies.


Mining excavators


Growth based on commodity exports remains pivotal in Brazil, with mining being the dominant economic resource in many municipalities. The economic and territorial impact of this industry means that operations tend to be dominated by one company in a given area. Other economic activities either satellite around the provision of housing and infrastructure to profitable industries, or jobs are indirectly dependant, such as public services paid for with mining royalties, increasing the economic impact of the local company. In this talk I will discuss what economic dependency generates politically. Participatory politics grew in Brazil during President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s mandates and are likely to grow again during his third mandate, which began this year. What needs further examination is what happens on the ground in the remote localities where participatory processes may legitimise extractive activities that do not deliver meaningful compensations. Additionally, by shifting the focus of political ethnography studies away from metropolitan areas to small and medium towns, this talk highlights the cultures and economies that these industries co-produce.


Andreza is the director of the Brazilian Studies Programme and Lecturer at the Latin American Centre, University of Oxford. Her research is concerned with the intersections and dynamics between formal and informal political and economic systems in Brazilian cities. Andreza is particularly interested in employment, migration, and politics in mining towns in Brazil. Given her interests in local governance and informalities, Andreza investigated sub-national responses to the pandemic in Brazil and has examined the impact of inequality in health policies. Her work has featured in Journals such as Nature Human Behaviour, Science, The Lancet, Ethnography, and others. She is the author or editor of three books focusing on cities in the global south.