Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Elite landowners in Santarém: Ranchers, gaúchos and the arrival of soybeans in the Amazon
by Adams, Ryan Thomas, Ph.D., Indiana University, 2010, 261; 3423602
Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation is an ethnographic study of large-scale landowners in Santarém, Pará State, Brazil in 2005. I investigated immigrant large-scale farmers who were using modern industrial farming techniques, as well as the established local elite who were mainly engaged in large-scale ranching and business. The immigrant group, called Gaúchos, arrived in the area from Southern and Central-Western Brazil when Cargill opened a deep-water port facility in Santarém in 2003 to transport soybeans from South America to Asia and Europe. The research asks whether or not the two groups of large-scale landowners would form a single landed elite class, as implied by a class analysis based in political economy. When I began the study it appeared that the immigrant and local elites would remain separate, because of their distinct economic positions, cultural values, and regional identities. It looked like the Gaúchos would simply displace the local elite. My research found that the two groups of landowners reached a tentative alliance based on a common ideology of modernity and development, and on their shared opposition to the goals of foreign-based, environmentalist non-government organizations and Brazilian social activists. The elite groups reached their accommodation through new social and economic institutions. This research has broad implications for our understanding of agricultural expansion in the Amazon. It is one of the first ethnographic studies of wealthy landowning classes on the expanding frontier of industrial agriculture in the neotropics.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Wilk, Richard
Commitee: Brondizio, Eduardo S., Greene, L. Shane, VanWey, Leah K.
School: Indiana University
Department: Anthropology
School Location: United States -- Indiana
Source: DAI-A 71/11, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Cultural anthropology, Environmental Studies
Keywords: Agriculture, Amazon, Brazil, Elite, Globalization, Political ecology
Publication Number: 3423602
ISBN: 9781124246413
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