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Revista Brasileira de Estudos de População

Print version ISSN 0102-3098


OLIVEIRA, Ricardo Antunes Dantas de. Theoretical references regarding international migration and the spatial mobility of sugarcane cutters. Rev. bras. estud. popul. [online]. 2014, vol.31, n.2, pp.453-469. ISSN 0102-3098.

The spatial mobility of sugarcane cutters has been a fundamental characteristic of the workforce of the Sugarcane Agro-industrial Complex in Brazil throughout its entire history. However, there are few examples of studies based on theoretical approaches to migration analysis, in view of the vast number of bibliographical references on this issue. Considering this background, this paper is an attempt at articulating the theoretical references most often used in studies on international migration with studies on the spatial mobility of sugarcane cutters. The purpose is to raise theoretical and conceptual questions that could be a basis for approaching this modality of displacement. On the basis of a literature review, the macro-level approach (World-Systems), the micro-level approach (New Economics of Migration) and the approach of migratory networks are discussed in view of the analyses of migrations of sugarcane cutters and with classic studies on rural exoduses in Brazil. It has been observed that macro-level issues allow researchers to raise questions on structural processes that link origins and destinations, whereas micro-level approaches make it possible to focus on family and household motivations and strategies. The role of networks stands out especially in the organization of displacement processes. The integration of the macro and micro levels with the issue of migratory networks is exemplified on the basis of considerations on sugarcane cutters' mobility. But it is also grounds for approaches on temporally and spatially distinct modalities, thus contributing to the current theoretical debate on spatial mobility.

Keywords : Spatial mobility; Theoretical references; Temporary migration; Agricultural workers.

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