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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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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 28 July 2021

The Making of Race and Class

The Making of Race and Class

(p.136) Six The Making of Race and Class
Constellations of Inequality

Sean T. Mitchell

University of Chicago Press

Chapter 6 continues the analysis of race and inequality in chapter 5, but through the frame of political consciousness and utopia. The chapter analyses tensions between the class-based politics of Alcântara's Rural Workers Union and the race-based politics of the quilombo movement to make a series of arguments about political consciousness. The chapter also address the extensive literature critiquing the weakness of cross-class Afro-Brazilian solidarity, which is structurally similar to literature on the weakness of cross-race working-class solidarity in the United States. The chapter takes a cue from E. P. Thompson to argue that political consciousness is the partially contingent result of culturally specific struggles and utopias, as much as of determinate historical conditions. Chapter 6 also brings together arguments present in previous chapters, showing how the rise in quilombo politics in Alcântara needs to be understood through an analysis of (1) the decline of “whitening” and mestiçagem (racial mixture) as models of mobility for nonwhite Brazilians, that is, a decline in mimetic convergence; (2) the increasing juridical and symbolic power of identity-focused social movements; and (3) the decline of relations of patronage between poor rural people in Alcântara and the locally powerful, that is, a decline in complementary hierarchy.

Keywords:   Brazil, United States, Inequality, Race, Consciousness, Utopia, Class, Whitening, Mestiçagem, Social Movements

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