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New Republic: landowners' violence as a class practice

During the 1980's so-called New Republic in Brazil, a conviction was disseminated throughout rural employers' organizations of "a real rural war" and of the "unavoidability" of violence as the only effective action to stop land occupation and the demand for agrarian reform. The aim of this work is to demonstrate - based on the debate on the mainstream press - that defense and practice of violence by big landowners and rural businessmen is structuring and reflects an habitus that links past and present in one reality. Violence discloses the content of class relations and displays the contents of old and new standards of conduct. In the 1980s, it worked to reinforce solidarity and the sense of belonging, also serving to strengthen even further owners' conviction of superiority over rural workers. It is not an individual and sporadic act; it is ritualized and institutionalized violence that implies creating militia, hiring gunmen, having a death list and promoting massacres. And in such context, there is little distinction between the new businessman and the traditional landlords, or the "civilized voice of the cities" from the "roughness of the ends of the earth".

agrarian issue; rural employers; New Republic

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