In this article we analyse the contribution by Anthony Leeds through is research undertaken in Brazil. This aim in mind, we set out the elements for a comparison between his doctoral thesis on the cacao zone, his research on Brazilian careers and his analysis of favelas. The study of his work enables us to broaden our understanding of the social science produced by US anthropologists on Brazil and Latin America from the 1950s to the 1970s, highlighting perspectives critical of the US hegemonic thought geared towards theories like modernization. We argue that the study of Rio de Janeiro’s favelas allowed a greater refinement of Leeds’s arguments on social organization in Brazil. More than localities where the urban poor resided, they were seen by him as dynamic structures involving an intense circulation of people and capital, expressing the strategies developed by urban workers to deal with the contradictions of a society undergoing a rapid process of urbanization.
Anthony Leeds; urban studies; Bahia-Columbia Project; History of Anthropology; favelas