Cotton, Computers and Citizenship: A Story of Economic and Social Change among Rural Communities in Northeastern Brazil

Saxby, John
COEP, Rio de Janeiro, 2011, ISSN 1983-9421, 252 pp.
Reviewed by or other comment: 

Sogge, David


Framed against Brazil's developmentalist ambitions – the motto ‘order and progress’ has adorned the nation's flag since 1889 – the impoverished people of its semi-arid Nordeste have often been portrayed as troublemakers and outlaws incapable and unworthy of development. In the 1890s, former slaves and poor farmers resisted local authorities, bringing about a bloody conflict, immortalised in Mario Vargas Llosa's War at the End of the World. In the 1950s, a peasant rebellion with leftist and radical Catholic inspiration brought on coercive counter-measures. Alarmed Brazilian elites called in massive support from Washington, DC, which furnished aid bombs to help buy off and eventually kill the political insurgency. That early version of today's securitised aid was later chronicled in a book: The Revolution that Never Was.

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