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Constellations of InequalitySpace, Race, and Utopia in Brazil$
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Sean T. Mitchell

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780226499123

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226499437.001.0001

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Mimetic Convergence and Complementary Hierarchy

Mimetic Convergence and Complementary Hierarchy

(p.23) One Mimetic Convergence and Complementary Hierarchy
Constellations of Inequality

Sean T. Mitchell

University of Chicago Press

The book’s first chapter describes the ethnographic situation of conflict in Alcântara and makes five arguments that continue through the rest of the book: (1) the Brazilian federal government’s relations to Alcântara’s conflicts, under Workers’ Party governments (2002-2016), reflected deep divisions within the state; (2) during the period of conflict in Alcântara, villagers have developed new forms of adversarial consciousness and a new awareness of their collective interests; (3) at the local level, this adversarial consciousness has taken sustenance from the decline of poor people’s dependence on patron-client relations with local elites—a decline in complementary hierarchy; (4) the form that this adversarial consciousness has taken results, in part, from a decline in the belief that mimetic convergence can resolve issues of inequality; and (5) this decline in the power of mimetic convergence is perceptible in the changing politics of both local struggles and those of Brazilian development and Brazil’s space program.

Keywords:   Brazil, Inequality, Development, Workers’ Party, Consciousness

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