THE METROPOLITAN COMMUNITY OF BELO HORIZONTE,
MINAS GERAIS, BRAZIL:
AN ECOLOGICAL ANALYSIS OF LOCALITY GROUP INTEGRATION
Robert A. Doria
A Dissertation Presented to the Graduate Council
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment
of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
I am greatly indebted to Dr. T. Lynn Smith, Graduate Research
Professor of Sociology, who is chairman of my supervisory ccan ttee,
without whose support and encouragement this research could never have
been adequately developed. Dr. Smith has helped me in countless ways,
but I would especially like to mention his patience in guiding me toward
working out an intelligible analysis of the complete socioecological
structure of a metropolitan community system, a complicated and chal-
lenging task. In addition, the entire study has been influenced by
his frame of reference for the study of levels of locality group inte-
gration and the typology of locality groups; among his many contribu-
tions to the conceptual tools available to the sociologist.
I wish to thank other members of the faculty of the University
of Florida, especially Dr. Charles Wagley and members of my supervisory
committee, Dr. Joseph S. Vandiver, Dr. Lyle N. McAlister, and Professor
S. lutaka, for help, stimulation, suggestions, and criticisms. I also
thank Dr. John V. D. Saunders for help and guidance before he left the
University of Florida to become chairman of the Department of Sociology
at Mississippi State University.
The research upon which this paper is based vas carried out
during thirteen months in Brazil under a Fulbright-Hayes dissertation
research grant from the Office of Education. I am grateful to the
administrators and staff for support and aid to my research project.
In addition, I thank the staff of the Center for Latin American Studies
at the University of Florida, especially Mrs. Vivian Nolan, for attention
to the administrative details of the grant.
In Brazil, the Federal University of Minas Gerais offered con-
siderable help and advice, and I would especially like to thank Profes-
sors Fibio Wanderley Reis and Ant6nio Otavio Cintra. In addition, I
thank Baldonedo Arthur Napoleao and Maristella Ferreila Napoleko for
their introductions into the political life of Minas Gerais; Robert N.
Cardoso and the Instituto de Geo-Ciencias Aplicadas for help in obtain-
ing maps; the various agricultural extension workers of ACAR (Associapao
de Crddito e Assist6ncia Rural), especially Jose' Resende from Sao Joao
del Rei, and my three assistants, Carlota de Paul, Sandra Drummond
Gosling, and Monica Krassa, for hard work and diligence in tracking
down information, in interviewing, and in other tasks.
Finally, I wish to thank Charlotte Doria for aiding my research
in innumerable ways. While doing research for her own dissertation on
the Brazilian family, she took time to accompany me on travels through
Minas Gerais, helping me as interviewer, interpreter, co-observer, and
colleague, engaging in discussions which offered important ideas and
insights into the development of this project.
Acknowledgments . . . . . . . . .ii
List of Figures. . . . . . . . . vi
Abstract ..... ......... .. .vi
PART I. INTRODUCTION
1 Introduction .................. 2
Notes . . . . . . . . . .12
2 Review of Literature .. . .. . . . . .13
Notes . . . . . . . . . 32
PART II. METROPOLITAN COMMUNITY SYSTEM
3 Evolution of the Metropolitan Community System
of Belo Horizonte ...... ... .. 37
Notes ................. ... 51
PART III. LEVELS OF LOCALITY GROUPS: THEIR
INTEGRATION WITHIN THE METROPOLITAN
4 Varieties of Rural Neighborhoods .... . .53
Notes . .. . . . . . .. 111
5 Incomplete Communities . . . . . .. .112
Notes .................. 134
6 The Rural Community . .. . . . . .... 135
Notes .... . . . . . . . 154
7 The Rurban Community .. . . . . 155
8 The Urban Community . . ... . . . 169
Notes . . . . . . ... . 217
9 The Metropolitan Community . . . ... 218
Notes . . . . . . . 245
PART IV. CONCLUSION
10 Summary and Conclusions ......... . 247
Bibliography . . . . . . . ... 262
Biographical Sketch . . . . . . . 267
List of Figures
1. Competing metropolitan community areas in the
state of Minas Gerais 47
2. Rural neighborhoods studied in the metropolitan
community of Belo Horizonte 60
3. Major social areas in the neighborhood of Laranja 75
4. Major social areas in the neighborhood of Sao Bento 79
5. Major social areas in the neighborhood of Sao Tome 84
6. Major social areas in the neighborhood of Caetds 96
7. Major social areas in the neighborhood of Pintos 104
8. Major social areas in the neighborhood of So Joio
9. Socio-ecological boundaries of the incomplete
community of Pitangueiras 120
10. Socio-ecological boundaries of the incomplete
community of Sio Sebastido de Campinas 123
11. Socio-ecological boundaries of the incomplete
community of Padre Brito 133
12. Socio-ecological boundaries of the rural community
of Sao Domingos do Prata 153
13. Socio-ecological boundaries of the urban community
of Pompeu 167
14. Socio-ecological bound ies of the urban community
of Barroso 185
15. Socio-ecological boundaries of the urban community
of Barbacena 199
16. Socio-ecological boundaries of the urban communities
in the metropolitan community of Belo Horizonte 242
Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate Council
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy
THE METROPOLITAN COMMUNITY OF BELO HORIZONTE, MINAS GERAIS,
BRAZIL: AN ECOLOGICAL ANALYSIS OF LOCALITY GROUP INTEGRATION
Robert A. Doria
Chairman: T. Lynn Smith
Major Department: Sociology
In this descriptive analysis of the socio-ecological organiza-
tion of the metropolitan community of Belo Horizonte, Brazil, the
kinds of rural neighborhoods and the types of rural, urban, and urban
communities were identified in the influence area of Belo Horizonte.
Boundaries dividing locality groups of various types and factors
ecologically integrating the different levels of locality groups were
determined within the metropolitan community system.
Changes in the inter-related factors of environment, popula-
tion, and technology were shown in the development of this complex
form of social organization within a frame of reference developed by
T. Lynn Smith,
Delineation was made of the territorial boundaries of thirty-
nine locality groups within the metropolitan influence area. Compre-
hensive Investigation of the boundaries, socio-cultural characteristics,
and the functional inter-relationships with higher-level localities
were presented for fourteen rural neighborhoods, four incomplete commu-
nities, two rural communities, one urban community, two urban
communities, and the metropolitan community of Belo Horizonte. The
data were obtained through interviews concerning trade and service
patronage areas, by personal observation, and from governmental agen-
cies, commercial establishments, and social service institutions. To
increase the validity of the results of the study, localities were
selected from several regions within the metropolitan community area,
differing in topography, climate, population density, economic
activity, and quality and quantity of roads.
A description was given of the origins of settlement in the
late seventeenth century and of the subsequent stages of ecological
succession prior to the emergence of the metropolitan community. The
primary factors responsible for the development to metropolitan status
(1950-1973) were determined: the increase in aggregate population of
Belo Horizonte (from 352,724 in 1950 to 1.2 million in 1970) and of
a number of satellite cities; the expansion in variety of controlling
economic, financial, social, cultural, and governmental institutions,
located in the metropolis, that function for the entire metropolitan
community; and the creation of extensive highway, transportation, and
communications systems facilitating the flow of goods and services
between Belo Horizonte and other parts of the community. The study
has shown that Belo Horizonte's attainment of metropolitan status has
resulted in its increasing ability to compete with the cities of Sao
Paulo and Rio de Janeiro for dominance within the state of Minas Gerais.
The increasing differentiation in the locality group structure
of the maturing metropolitan community was demonstrated by identifying
a variety of sub-types within the general classification of neighborhood
and community. Three types of rural neighborhoods were identified:
the fazenda (large farm) neighborhood, the nucleated neighborhood of
small farms, and the neighborhood of scattered small farms. Two
sub-types at the level of the incomplete community were identified:
one having a hamlet as nucleus and the other, a small village as
nucleus. Other sub-types included: the rural community with a large
village as center; the urban community with a town as center; and
three sub-types of urban communities with a factory city, a trade and
service city, and a multi-functional city as centers, respectively.
Because of the rapidly changing character of the ecological
organization of the metropolitan community, because of the develop-
ment of a modern highway system and the greater use of motor vehicles,
this variety of multiple centers subordinate to the metropolis has
been providing increased economic, social, and cultural services to
large numbers of people residing in the metropolitan community.
This descriptive and analytical study of the present level of
socio-ecological integration of the metropolitan crTunity system of
Belo Horizonte, Brazil, focuses primarily on the initial stage of metro-
politanization, 1950 to the present, with reference to the historical
background of the metropolitan system, from pioneer colonial settlements
in the beginning of the eighteenth century through successive stages of
human ecological development during the first half of the twentieth
century, insofar as this background relates directly to the emergence
of the present community structure.
This work has several principal objectives: (1) to determine
boundaries which separate locality groups of various types; (2) to
identify kinds of neighborhoods and types of rnral, urban, and urban
communities found in the influence area of Relo Horizonte; (3) to
determine the coincidence, or lack of it, between social areas and
administrative units; and (4) to identify factors which ecologically
integrate various levels of locality qroupp. More specifically, in
this study an attempt has becn made to present information concerning
types of locality groups that exist in the metropolitan conmuiuity of
Belo Horizonte and the degree to which these groups are socio-ecologically
integrated into this system, as well as to relate changes in environ-
mental, demographic, and technological conditions that have contributed
to the establishment and development of this complex form of social
organization. Conditioning factors include the following: (1) the
natural environment in terms of climate, topography, soils, and re-
sources; (2) the dynamics of population size, distribution, and migra-
tory movements; (3) the forms of economic, social, and political insti-
tutions derived from the larger society and adapted to the local situ-
ation; (4) the changing technology, particularly in communications and
transportation, that modifies the social and economic activities among
various locality groups in the metropolitan community system.
There has been a significant lack of published sociological
research on the types and varieties of locality groups presently found
in more developed regions of Brazil, and there is even less research
on the study of ecological integration in a metropolitan community
system. Thus, the primary reason for this project stemmed from the
need for exploratory research.
The nature of the unit chosen for study, the locality group,
requires an empirical investigation to delineate the territorial bounda-
ries which exist for such social groups. Since census data only exist
for administrative divisions, too often social scientists and planners
have used administrative units such as municipaos and states simply
because the data are in that form. This expcdlent is often counter-
productive to the aims of social scientists and planners, because they
are attempting to use that data to define significant areas of social
interaction for practical or analytical reasons. Therefore it will be
more productive to seek to define the natural community boundaries in
order to better understand functional integration among various locality
groups. For this reason, this study has been undertaken so that a more
thorough understanding of the structure and process of metropolitan com-
munity systems can be achieved, especially of Brazilian metropolises.
Scope of the Study
The perspectives of space and time were considered in limiting
the scope of the study. It has been limited to the portion of the state
of Kinas Gerais, Brazil, that is under the influence of the metropolis
of Belo Horizonte, the capital city of the state, one of seven major
metropolitan communities in Brazil.2 This particular geographic area
has been selected because of its functional complexity and its phenomenal
rate of growth.3 Within this metropolitan community an entire spectrum
of locality groups is found, including those based on agriculture, stock-
raising, mining, manufacturing, and service industries. Furthermore,
its sociological significance is enhanced by (1) its nearness to Brazil's
two largest metropolitan centers, Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo,and by (2)
a recent increase in Belo Horizonte's ability to compete with its huge
Temporally, the focus of this study is on the period from ap-
proximately 1950 to 1973 and on the process whereby Belo Horizonte
changed from an isolated interior administrative center to a nationally
integrated metropolis serving as the center of a vast netrooolitan com-
munity. Although this study is primarily concerned with the present
community form and structure, it includes descriptions of settlement
patterns from earlier periods to show the transformation of rural isola-
tion and dispersion into the present community structure.
Several key concepts are used frequently in this study. There-
fore, these terms will be defined so that the precise use of terms will
be clear to the reader. Most of these terms will be presented in
greater depth in later chapters.
Ecology is a branch of sociology concerned with the spacing of
people and institutions, and the resulting interdependency. Another
way of defining social ecology is: the collective adaptation of a popu-
lation to its environment, including the physical arrangement of that
environment and the distribution and organization of people in physical
arrangement and social behavior.
A locality group is a social group based primarily on shared
territorial occupation, in which the residents' interests and activities
frequently converge in areas of common life, association, and mutual
aid. Examples of the major classes of locality groups are the neighbor-
hood, the community, and the society.
Community is used for a strictly ecological phenomenon, as one
form of locality group that shares a physical area; forms a social group
and an area of social interaction; creates a psychic, informal identity
for members; and provides for the fulfillment of a complete range of
needs by members. In contrast, the neighborhood is smaller, relJes more
on face-to-face relationships and mutual aid, and rarely has facilities
to provide for all the needs of residents.
Metropolis denotes a large city characterized by great functional
complexity as well as an extensive tributary area, or sphere of influence,
which contains satellite towns and rural communities and neighborhoods.
Usually, the metropolis has a population of more than one million inhabi-
tants and,because of its size, frequently transcends its regional role
to attain society-wide importance.
Metropolitan community system refers to a significant degree of
ecological integration that exists between the metropolis and numerous
lower-level locality groups found in an extensive zone of influence.
The network of community interrelationships centering on the metropolis
constitutes a system, i.e., a bounded pattern of functional relation-
ships among component parts.6
Level of integration represents the locality group level, vary-
ing among complex societies, at which the most significant social soli-
darity occurs. For example, in Brazil the most significant social
solidarity, until recently, was found in the rural neighborhood. Since
transportation and communication were undeveloped, kinship formed the
base of social life; common economic interests encouraged cooperation;
and the majority of rural people maintained a high degree of independ-
ence from urban commercial establishments and from production for
Significance of the Study
This study of the Brazilian metropolitan community system con-
tributes to the sociological literature in several ways. The analysis
of levels of locality group integration in this study has avoided the
character of holistic small-community studies. It follows the suggestion
that a hierarchy of locality groups forms the basis of social interaction
in complex societies.
In the literature on Brazil, this is the first study in any dis-
cipline on the functioning of Brazil's third-largest metropolis, Belo
Horizonte. Nevertheless, insight into a particular social problem of
a single community has not been sought. In the study of several levels of
locality groups, generalizations based on an isolated case were avoided.
Finally, this study provides the kind of overview of a metropolitan com-
munity system that necessarily precedes any significant problem research.
In addition, this study has several implications that transcend
its academic purpose. (1) It contributes to the literature on the proc-
ess of urbanization in Latin America. (2) It provides insight into the
special nature of the process of modernization in developing countries
and makes more evident the role of metropolitan communities in effecting
modernization. (3) It furnishes a case study of the development, struc-
tures, and functioning of a metropolitan community system, showing how
locality groups of various sizes and varying importance are integrated
into a metropolitan community. The approach used in this study shows
the extent of functional interdependence among communities of various
sizes, which previous research perspectives, as in studies of "isolated"
communities, have tended to obscure. (4) The case study supplies a
model useful to regional and community planning agencies which are re-
sponsible for social services and infrastructure. (5) The particular
metropolis, Belo Horizonte, is an especially significant choice, because
it forms an important part of one of the most dynamic regions of Latin
America, namely, Brazil's industrial heartland.
Sources and Use of Data
Various sources of data have been used, and an attempt has been
made to identify each source as data are presented. Most of the materi-
als to be used resulted from personal observation and data from other
primary sources. The choice of criteria for determining the service
areas of various levels of locality groups depended on several factors,
including the nature of the core metropolis and its surrounding region.
Those agencies which were espeically helpful in providing various types
of data are the following:
Institute Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatistica (IBGE)
(Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics)
for census information, maps, and socio-economic data
Centro de Planejamento Regional (CEDEPLAR)
(Center for Regional Planning)
for information on internal migration and metro-
politan area mapping.
Fundagao Joao Pinheiro (JoAo Pinheiro Foundation)
for information on satellite cities in the metro-
Institute de Geo-Ciencias Aplicadas (Institute of
for maps of individual municlpios.
Conselho Estadual do Desenvolvimento (State Develop-
for publications containing relevant socio-economic
A significant amount of useful material was obtained through personal
visits to the following headquarters of agencies:
Servigo Federal de HabitaVao e Urbanismo (SERPHAU)
(Federal Housing and Urbanization Service.
Estado de Minds and O Globo, newspapers.
Secretaria de Educapao (State Department of Education).
Associapao de Cr6dito e Assist6ncia Rural (ACAR)
(Rural Assistance and Credit Association).
Departamento de Estradas de Rodagem do Estado de
Minas Gerais (DER) (Minas Gerais State Depart-
ment of Highways).
Comissno de Desenvolvimento do Vale do Jequitinhonha
(CODEVALE) (Jequitinhonha Valley Development
(Agencies will be referred to by acronym hereafter.) Two other sources
were especially helpful in determining the gross outlines of the Belo
Horizonte metropolitan community:
Centrals de Abastecimento de Minas Gerais (CEASA)
(Minas Gerais Supply Center).
Cooperative Central dos Produtores Rurais de Minas
Gerais (ITAMBE) (Central Cooperative for Rural
Producers of Minas Gerais).
The writer himself observed the patterns of social interaction
in the area under study in order to gather information not available or
not collected by these various agencies. (The problems inherent to
census data have already been mentioned.) For this purpose, nine months,
from November, 1972, to July, 1973, were spent traveling throughout the
area influenced by Belo Horizonte, driving thousands of miles in the
interior of the state of Minas Gerais.
The average time spent in any one community was three or four
days, but in communities studied in more depth, several longer visits,
from a week to ten days, were made, sometimes staying in hotels but
often as a guest in the homes of Brazilians, especially in communities
where more time was spent.
Notes were made as soon as possible after an experience or ob-
servation. Interviewees were asked to map areas of patronage at the time
of the interview. Various persons were inter-.ewed during these travels,
using formal schedules as well as informal conversations. Residents of
rural neighborhoods (fazondeiros and siciantes) were interviewed con-
cerning the limits of rural neighborhoods and the extent of contacts and
links with other locality groups.
Also interviewedd were officials and employees of local agencies
and branch offices of state and federal agencies, such as
schools and universities,
governments of municipios,
agricultural extension offices (ACAR),
rural workers' social security offices (FUNRURAL),
census bureau offices (IBGE),
state agricultural supply stores (COMAG).
In the private sector were interviewed
owners of retail stores,
representatives of chambers of commerce,
publishers of newspapers,
operators of radio stations,
members of fraternal organizations,
owners and managers of small industries and cooperatives,
employees of bus companies,
operators of hotels,
administrators of hospitals,
doctors and dentists.
Social occasions were fruitful sources of data about neighbor-
hood and community activities and interaction and included
inaugurations of public buildings,
meetings of parent-teacher associations,
functions at social clubs,
public observances on religious and secular holidays,
Order of Procedure
The exposition of the material of this study is divided into
four parts. Included in Part I is an introductory chapter stating the
objectives and the scope of the work, the sources of data collected,
and the methodological procedures used. In addition, a defense of the
study has been made in terms of its significance and contribution to
the sociological literature on locality groups, as well as its possible
application to the process of modernization. Chapter 2 reviews the
relevant theoretical formulations and empirical studies published to
date, as well as the identification, delineation, and integration of
In Part II are discussed the origins and subsequent evolutionary
stages of the present form and structure of the Belo Horizonte metro-
politan community. Included in this discussion are geographic charac-
teristics of the region and historical factors responsible for the
socio-ecological transformation of the community.
Part III consists of six chapters, one for each of the types of
locality groups identified in this study, i.e., the rural neighborhood;
the incomplete, or partial, community, the tural, the rurban, the urban, the
metropolitan communities. In each of these chapters the conceptual
basis for the designation of a type of locality group is given, followed
by a description and structural analysis of one or more representative
Finally, Part IV presents a summary of these findings, dealing
primarily with new socio-ecological forces that are intensifying the
integration of locality groups within the Belo Horizonte metropolitan
1. See Otis Dudley Duncan, "Human Ecology and Population Studies,"
in Philip M. Hauser and Otis Dudley Duncan, eds., The Study of Popula-
tion (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1959), pp. 678-716; con-
taining a detailed exposition of the concept ecosystem and the inter-
relational factors of environment, population, technology, and social
2. Marilia Velloso Galvao, "Divisao regional do Brasil," Revista
Brasileira de Geografia, no. 4, pp. 179-218.
3. T. Lynn Smith, Brazil: People and Institutions, 4th ed. (Baton
Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1972), p. 594.
4. Harold M. Clements, Jr., The Mechanization of Agriculture in
Brazil: A Sociological Study of Minas Gerais (Gainesville: University
of Florida Press, 1969).
5. T. Lynn Smith, Studies of Latin-American Societies (Garden City,
N.Y.: Doubleday-Anchor, 1970), p. 140; T. Lynn Smith and Paul G. Zopf,
Jr., Principles of Inductive Rural Sociology (Philadelphia: F. A. Davis
Co., 1970), p. 243; Smith, Brazil, p. 428.
6. T. Lynn Smith, Colombia: Social Structure of the Process of
Development (Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 1967), p. 306.
7. Smith, Brazil, pp. 450-54.
8. Smith, Colombia, p. 287.
9. T. Lynn Smith, "Some Aspects of Rural Community Development in
Brazil," Luso-Brazilian Review, x:l, (June) 1973, pp. 17-16, advocates
application of the ecological perspective in designating most appropriate
areas or units for development programs; see also T. Lynn Smith,
Brazilian Society (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1975),
Review of Literature
This short review of the literature examines and summarizes
basic contributions in some publications relevant to the study of
socio-ecological identification, classification, and integration of
locality groups in community systems. To date, no comprehensive study
of a metropolitan community has used an ecological framework in analyz-
ing the integration of various levels of locality groups within the zone
of influence of a metropolis. There are however a number of works which
have constructed typologies of locality groups, primarily based on polar
types such as the rural-urban dichotomy, but these polar types lack
sufficient designations for a variety of units which have significant
degrees of social solidarity based on locality. In addition, there have
been works taking as their object the characterization of different
categories of locality groups, e.g., the rural, urban, and metropolitan
communities, but there has been no over-all, empirical study showing
how various levels interrelate and are integrated into a metropolitan
Works to be presented are grouped in the following categories:
1. The typology and taxonomy of locality groups,
2. Approaches to the delineation and identification of
socially significant ecological boundaries of locality
3. The levels and degrees of integration among locality
Typology and Taxonomy of Local Groups
The terminology for genuine social groups with territorial
bases has in the past been limited to two designations, the neighbor-
hood and the comnunity.1 This limited range of designation has made
difficulties for social scientists and others interested in analyzing
social interaction, who have resorted to designations of territorial
units which do not denote genuine locality groups. As a result, con-
fusion exists in the literature which attempts to define the spheres
of interaction of territorially based units.2 Furthermore, scholars
interested in genuine social groups have avoided the discussion of
territorial basis in order to emphasize some aspect of socio-cultural
differentiation, often a polar dichotomy. Although such dichotomies
have not taken territoriality into account, they still offer important
conceptual insights for constructing a typology of locality groups.
For example, Durkheim's distinction between mechanistic and organic
solidarity and Cooley's distinction between primary and secondary
groups are both ways of distinguishing between small, intimate groups
and large, impersonal groups. These classical sociologists believed
that they had discovered key concepts that differentiated the new urban
industrial, complex societies from the traditional agrarian societies.
Emile Durkheim saw the concepts of mechanistic and organic
solidarity as ideal types and not as classes of actual groups. Mecha-
nistic solidarity, according to Durkheim, is a characteristic of
"primitive" society, where individuals are bound together by common
interests, homogeneity, public opinion, and tradition. Organic soli-
darity is a characteristic of "civilized" societies, where individuals
are bound together by interdependence on each others' services.4
Durkheim believed that organic solidarity was replacing mechanistic
solidarity. He did not, however, draw synchronic models, including
relationships between various territorial entities, to exhibit the
contrasts between mechanistic and organic solidarity, although later
scholars have applied the concepts in this manner.
Charles H. Cooley, unlike Durkheim, defined a concept, primary
group, to refer both to an actual group and to a particular quality of
relationship. He did not deliberately create a dichotomy model, al-
though the effect, and perhaps the intent, of his distinction was to do
so. What he set out to do was to define the characteristics of a cer-
tain fundamental form of relationship, common to all human experience,
which contributes to the development of human personality: face-to-
face, cooperative associations.5 Cooley was interested in the factor
of physical proximity, but only insofar as it correlates with primary
relationships. Later sociologists have incorporated the concept of
primary group in characterizing the neighborhood as a distinct type of
Following these attempts at dichotomy models, sociologists
became interested in applying such ideal types to actual phenomena and
as a result began to refine the concept of community, so it could be
applied to existing social groups, gleaning key features from the
dichotomy models presented earlier. In one of the first attempts to
circumscribe a type of locality group and to distinguish it from other
types, Robert M. MacIver defined community as a territory in which the
whole of a life could be passed.6 Many scholars have praised this
definition, although it has been criticized for lacking precise terri-
torial limits which can be replicated.
Another approach to the study of communities using a more
precise definition of territoriality is that of social ecology. In the
early part of the twentieth century, Charles J. Galpin, Pobert E. Park,
and Roderick D. McKenzie were among the pioneers studying locality
groups as territorial entities, making major contributions to rural and
Galpin viewed the rural community as a territorial entity with a
complete range of social functions. However, he discerned its ecological
structure as consisting of a trade and service center with a surrounding
zone of farm families and rural neighborhoods in functional interdepend-
ence with the center. His work also included practical methods for de-
lineating the boundaries of a genuine rural community, which will De
Park and his students studied the city, especially the city of
Chicago, using an ecological analysis of natural patterns of spatial
distribution. However, these studies rarely, if ever, dealt with parts
of the urban community outside the city limits.
McKenzie was first to see that the city was being supcrceded
by the metropolitan community as the important urban unit in many areas
of the United States. McKenzie characterized metropolitan communities
as consisting of highly developed centers extending spheres of socio-
economic influence which brought formerly isolated areas under the
dominance of these centers through changes wrought by r.ew fortn of
transportation and communication.10
However, neither Galpin, Park, nor McKenzie attempted to develop
a complete classification of locality groups based on ecological and
socio-cultural criteria. In describing and analyzing various types of
locality groups, some recent sociological studies have failed to estab-
lish a taxonomic system covering the whole range of locality groups,
although recognizing distinctive qualities of these types and using
such conventional adjectives as rural, urban, small-town, and suburban.
T. Lynn Smith has offered the most complete empirically based
classification scheme taking into account both ecological and socio-
cultural features of locality groups. He has emphasized that adminis-
trative units should not be confused with social units and that nucle-
ated settlements are not necessarily complete social groups. His
taxonomy begins with the rural farm family and the rural neighborhood,
both of which are characterized almost exclusively by primary group
relationships. The hamlet-centered locality group; the semi-, incom-
plete, and partial communities; the rural community, with a village
nucleus; the urban community, with a balance between agricultural-
pastoral and urban activities such as commerce, transportation, and
manufacturing; the urban communities; and the metropolitan community
are all characterized by a mix in locality groups of higher levels.11
Smith has advocated the expansion of his taxonomy into a system with a
greater number of designations of locality groups, especially in the
areas of partial and urban communities.
Thus, from this discussion of typology and taxonomy of locality
groups it is clear that additional empirical study can add to a litera-
ture which has focused on polar ideal types, or simply on one or another
kind of locality group, without placing it in the perspective of its
relationship with other such groupings. The present study adds to the
characterization of these categories of communities in areas indicated
by Smith as lacking sufficient designation and shows the range of
locality groups most likely to be found within the largest type of
locality group, the metropolitan community.
Delineation and Identification of Locality Groups
The best means of creating a useful typology of locality groups
is to choose as the distinguishing feature of each group some mechanism
for relating social functions to spatial extent. Social functions tend
to create different types of social cohesion in the economic, political,
and social spheres. The nucleus of each locality extends a sphere of
influence via social functions which integrate the members of the group.
The places of residence of such members, coupled with the territory in
which members interact, mark the territory of the locality group. The
literature relevant to attempts to delineate and identify such terri-
tories and groups demonstrates a number of methodological approaches
and techniques which have been employed in this effort.
Charles J. Galpin was first to associate territoriality with
locality groups. For instance, he recognized that the rural neighbor-
hood in the United States is the focal point for the social organiza-
tion of scattered farm settlements, which are frequently integrated
about a common institutions, a school, a store, a club or other volun-
tary association, a church, a factory, a mill, or some other service
facility. His contributions to the delineation and identification of rural
communities will be treated below, following discussion of contributions
to the literature on rural neighborhoods.
An important concept which lies behind the effort to delineate
locality group boundaries is Robert Park's natural area. A natural area
is, according to Park, a geographic territory of relative cultural
homogeneity, with physical boundaries in the city: an unplanned response
to the workings of local customs, traditions, social rituals, laws,
public opinion, sustenance activities, and the prevailing moral order.13
Park's main contribution in making this concept current was in taking
the idea from Galpin's rural context and introducing it into the urban
milieu.14 Galpin and his followers had previously shown that the con-
cept of a naturally bounded territory is a factor in delimiting rural
neighborhoods and communities.
The idea of natural area, of course, continued to be important
to students of rural neighborhoods, as well as to students of the city.
Sorokin, Zimmerman, and Galpin were interested in defining elements
which are necessary for the development of true rural social groups.
These groups, the most simple of which is the rural neighborhood, are
held together by a number of social bonds, or links, including three
related to territoriality: (1) territorial proximity, (2) common pos-
session and utilization of land, and (3) living, experiencing, and
acting together.15 This view allows non-nucleated settlements to be
included in the category of locality groups with a truly common way of
The inclusion of scattered settlements in the concepts of neigh-
borhood and community has been very important in the development of a
rural sociological analysis for both the United States and Brazil, an
effort to which T. Lynn Smith has made outstanding contributions. In
both of these societies, scattered farmsteads have been the dominant
form in the rural settlement pattern, and farmers have tended to reside
on the land they work.16 Nevertheless, it has been subsequently shown
that types of social bonds exist among residents of these scattered
farmsteads in the areas of kinship, marriage, religion, language, common
economic interests, mutual aid, and dependence on the same institutions.
These are the very social bonds which bring about the existence of true
social groups, according to Sorokin, Zimmerman, and Galpin.
Thus, among American rural sociologists, the idea of "open
country" neighborhoods offered a concept central to the analysis of
rural life.17 Studies of the delineation of rural neighborhoods in
the United States have included Williams' attempt to identify a con-
sciousness of intimate relations among rural neighbors8 in a pioneer
study Kolb used the tactic of eliciting the name associated with the
locality from its residents.9 Taylor and Zimmerman criticized Kolb's
method but did not deny the existence of rural neighborhoods as viable
entities.20 However, later studies by Jehlik and Losey, Jehlik and
Wakely, and Kolb's own re-studies2] showed that in the three decades
since the first studies were made, the integration and solidarity of
rural neighborhoods were being undermined by improved transportation
and communications which more strongly linked farm families to towns,
villages, and cities. As a result of all these studies, neighborhoods
are today considered as components of more complex intergroup systems,
not as self-contained systems.
One of the first delineation studies of a Latin American neigh-
borhood was done by Orlando Fals-Borda, using methods established by
American rural sociologists. Fals-Borda found that the neighborhood is
bound together by mechanistic solidarity characterized by homogeneity
in political party preference, religion, language, race, kinship, school
facilities, economic activities, and recreational habits. In addition,
he found that traditions, mutual interdependence, and a sense of belong-
ing help to create bonds of solidarity. Pals-Borda explained that the
natural area of the neighborhood is largely determined by physical
features: the size of holdings, where they lie, and the nature of the
terrain. Two conclusions should be noted in this case study. First,
despite the self-contained nature of the neighborhood, it remains es-
sentially a part of a larger intergroup system, especially the adminis-
trative governmental unit. Second, the physical territory of the neigh-
borhood is a natural area determined by a combination of topographic
and social features.2
Another excellent example of neighborhood delineation was pro-
vided by Ernesto E. Vautier and Orlando Fals-Borda.23 One of the contri-
butions of this study is to distinguish between two sub-types of rural
neighborhoods, the smaller and the larger, offering a designation for
locality groups which are neither small homogeneous neighborhoods nor
complete communities and adding to the designations available for par-
tial, or incomplete, communities; the lack of which has been noted
T. Lynn Smith presented an analysis of varieties of rural neigh-
borhoods in Brazil, based on travels and research there. He too
indicated that ecological features, such as networks of trails, physical
features of the terrain, and settlement-pattern densities,often influ-
ence the morphology of such neighborhoods and that a study of these fea-
tures would aid in the delineation of rural neighborhoods.24
It is not just to the dispersed rural neighborhood that physi-
cal area is important. All locality groups with nuclei of a higher
order than the rural neighborhood have spheres of influence or natural
areas, which have come to be known as hinterlands. The concept of
hinterland is important for the study of communities in general and as
a tool to distinguish between rural and urban communities. A hinterland
is an area surrounding a nucleus (an agglomerated settlement, village,
town, city, or metropolis) that exhibits functional interdependence with
that nucleus via social and economic interaction.
Ecologist Amos Hawley was concerned with the structure of cm-
munities, including conceptualizing nucleated and dispersed areas. He
called hinterlands community areas, a term to be used hereafter because
it does not cognitively dichotomize between the nucleus and the dispersed
areas as much as the term hinterland. Hawley said that there are three
types of community areas: primary, secondary, and tertiary. All cornuni-
ties have primary areas in which residents work, purchase food, and meet
basic needs. Secondary areas have an Irregular exchange with the nucleus
in order to purchase durable goods and to obtain specialized medical,
legal, and financial services, and entertainment. Tertiary areas are
found only in conjunction wtih metropolitan communities where the metrop-
olis functi-.-* in a specialized way for an entire nation or a very large
area, e.g., as New York functions as financial center for the United
States. Rural communities, then, have only primary community areas,
while urban cocaunities have primary and secondary community areas, and
metropolitan communities have all three types of community area.
The delineation and study of the genuine rural community, in-
cluding its primary community area, was pioneered by Charles J. Galpin
in a now-classic study of Walworth County, Wisconsin. Galpin sought
the relationships among scattered-farm residents and various nucleated
settlements. His method was to interview merchants, bankers, milk
station operators, ministers, and teachers to find out the distance that
farmers traveled to reach the center. In addition, a number of farmers
were interviewed to find out where they obtained key services such as
banking, shopping, milk processing, school attendance, church participa-
tion, newspaper subscription, and library use, The study showed that
each village had a trade zone that overlapped or ignored political
boundaries. Galpin concluded that these trade zones are the territorial
areas of functioning rural communities with village nuclei.2
As a result of this woik, the first of its kind, Galpin became
known as the father of service area community delineation studies. Sub-
sequent studies followed Galpin's methodological model. For example,
Sandeis and Ensminger studied several rural villages and associated
community areas in Alabama.27 An intensivestudy of a Latin American
community delineation was reported in Painter's work on Turrialba in
Costa Rica-28 A similar delineation study was completed by Saunders
i Bradford County, Florida.9
The indices used in various studies to delineate conurunity areas
are, in general, based on indicators of business, credit, trade, commerce,
professional services, education, religion, and recreational activities.
However, in different cultures the relative importance of various
factors seems to differ. Smith pointed out that the open country church
is often the most important factor in integrating United States rural
neighborhoods, while the large parish church, located in village or
town, fosters integration at the community level in Brazil.30
Another level of community is the urban community, a designa-
tion referring to the fact that agricultural-pastoral and non-agricultural
or urban activities are of approximately equal importance in the com-
munity. Ecologically, this type of community usually has a town center
with a surrounding tributary zone. Galpin predicted that this type of
community will be the probable end result of expanding transportation
and communications in the United States. This prediction has not
realized itself in the United States. However, as Smith has indicated,
in certain regions of Brazil and Colombia the inclusion of rural and
urban areas in the same administrative unit the municipio, has probably
lead to the emergence of urban commnunities.32
The concept of community area as defined by Hawley is linked to
urban and metropolitan communities more than to rural or urban ones.
The importance of urban spheres of influence was first recognized when
Roderick D. McKenzie pointed out the effect of large cities on surround-
ing smaller rural and nrban communities. The concept of community area
nas been used in a number of studies of urban influence areas nade by
geographers using a number of factors to determine the social and economic
integration of towns and open country areas under the influence of a city.
Boundaries of urban communities have been the subject of works
by Harris on Salt Lake City, Ullman on Mobile, Dickinson on "city-regions"
in England and Western Europe, and Green on England and Wales. A
number of studies have been made in various countries, delineating
urban influence areas. Beaujeu-Garnier and Chabot reported on studies
of such areas in Prance, Finland, Germany, England, the United States,
Switzerland, the Netherlands, Belgium, and other countries, using such
a variety of functional indicators of urban influence as milk-shed
zone, bus service routing, newspaper circulation, use of recreational
facilities, administrative services, medical services, and educational
In areas with relatively few private vehicles, analysis of the
routes and frequency of bus service, without reference to journey time,
is a good indicator of functional interdependence. This technique was
used by F. H. W. Green in England and Wales and deserves special mention
because of its relevance to the present study. Since ownership of
automobiles is still considered a luxury in Brazil, residents of outlying
areas rely primarily on bus service to get from rural and urban communi-
ties to urban and metropolitan centers. Green's study argued that a
transportation index can be a good indicator of primary economic inte-
gration of villages and towns with larger cities, because villages and
towns often serve as labor pools for industrial centers and the daily
trip to work is reflected in transportation schedules.3 In Brazil,
bus transportation provides commuter service within the metropolitan
core,and perhaps within the primary community area, but in the secondary
and tertiary areas it is rather an indicator of trade zones.
The metropolitan community, a relatively recent phenomenon, can
be better understood when territorial concepts such as community area
and natural area are applied to it. Delineating the influence area is
useful for determining the true limits of social interaction and the
interdependence of outlying localities with the nucleus and for avoiding
the distortion created by using administrative or demographic density
units. Roderick D. McKenzie recognized the influence of metropolises
over wide tributary areas. Hle noted that "with the increasing ease and
rapidity of travel, particularly by motor car, the large city has not
only brought under its sway much territory that was formerly rural, but
has extended its influence far out into territory that is still clas-
sified as rural."36 This influence brings about a metropolitan con-
sciousness which integrates formerly isolated and independent rural
neighborhoods and communities.37 McKenzie outlined several techniques
for finding the margins of the metropolitan community: (1) describing
the commutation area, (2) describing the trade (or service) area, and
(3) analyzing truck transport patterns.38 He also mentioned other
indices, such as newspaper delivery by carriers and utilities expansion,
primarily as integrative features of the core area rather than the
Park and Newcomb, in a study contemporary with MlcKenzie's, held
that the total distribution pattern of a newspaper correlates with
economic and social features, such as wholesale trade zone and the sale
of rail passenger tickets.39 Green advocated the compilation of a
variety of indicators, which he used in the cited study to show that
Connecticut is functionally a part of New York's metropolitan community,
rather than Boston's, and functionally divorced from its historical
region, New England.4 Haglund, in a study of Milwaukee, used conmutation
area, retail trade zone, newspaper circulation, wholesale grocery distri-
bution zone, the drawing area of the Milwaukee Braves baseball Leam, and
thirty-seven other criteria for delimiting the territorial extent of
metropolitan influence.4 His study showed wide variation among these
criteria. Bollens and Schmandt have argued that the precise criteria
are not the central issue in making a meaningful delimitation, but the
larger theoretical approaches to interpretations of metropolitan growth
are central to such a determination. These authors were eclectic in
crediting methods, including Haglund's (and others') "function-by-
function" compilation. Bollens and Schmandt, however, argued that the
view of the spatial pattern as uni-centered is the basic weakness of
such approaches. Citing Hawley, they pointed out:
Modern forms of communication and transportation have
brought into being a sharply etched multi-centered
community pattern. Formerly, semi-independent com-
munities scattered over the hinterland about a market
center were drawn into close contact with one another
as well as with the major center, differentiated as
to function, and transformed into units in an exten-
sive though highly sensitive local territorial division
They concluded that the concept of metropolitan community as a multi-
centered phenomenon is meaningful and realistic.
Brazilian authors have been concerned with metropolitan growth
and the delimitation of metropolitan community areas. Several studies
of Brazilian urbanization have attempted to map areas of influence, but
the empirical basis of these studies is unclear. There is a general
discussion of transportation, communications, industrial and co inercial
attraction and influence, population size and historical ties, but the
tracing of empirically defined trade zones, newspaper circulation, and
other such socio-economic factors is lacking in these studies.43
Thus, from this review of the literature on delineating and
identifying locality groups we can see a need for a comprehensive
study of a multi-centered metropolitan community system, taking into
account the whole range of locality groups from rural to metropolitan.
Furthermore it is clear that an empirically based study will be a
contribution to the literature on Brazilian metropolitan phenomena.
Levels and Degrees of Integration among Locality Groups
The importance of identifying and delineating locality groups
depends on tne interrelationships among them. It is clear that many
of the community types discussed exist entirely within a larger com-
munity. As Smith indicated, any individual farm family may have loyal-
ties, attachments, and linkages to a number of different communities:
rural, rurban, urban, and metropolitan.44 These different attachments
are in fact a form of integration of the family in the "level" of com-
munity. Of course, the degrees of integration at various levels are
important for determining the nature of a society and culture. For
example, in a simple society the integration into high levels will be
minimal, whereas in a highly complex society the integration at higher
levels will be greater. Since the process of modernization is linked
to the promulgation of modern attitudes and since innovations are often
generated from metropolitan centers, it is clear that the understanding
of levels and degrees of integration among locality groups is crucial
to informed planning, as well as to academic understanding of how a
particular society functions.
The literature on levels and degrees of integration is limited.
Galpin was an early observer of the fact that rural residents relate
themselves to different centers for different purposes. Furthermore he
predicted that intense competition among rural trade centers would,
with the advent of good roads and the wide use of automobiles, result
in the integration of farmers and their families with the nucleus of a
more complex level of locality group, the rurban or farmer's town.4
A later study in Louisiana by T. Lynn Smith showed that over
time, centers of various sizes tend to income more evenly distributed
throughout an area, resulting in more efficient rural organization con-
nesting each family with a number of trade centers.46 In subsequent
works, Smith has continued to give the concept of the level and degree
of integration among locality groups a central role in his analysis of
social differentiation in rural societies.
Smith's findings have been supported by other sociologists,
including Dwight Sanderson, whose study of seven New York counties
indicated that the open country farm family was at that time (1934)
primarily integrated with the local village but also with other locality
groups, especially to obtain certain specialized services.
More recent sociological research by Zirmmerman and Moneo has
shown that the involvement of rural residents in the life styles of
villages and towns has changed over time. A ma)or change, they ex-
plained, has been that the lower-level communities gain in significance
of degree of integration at the expense of both iural neighborhood and
city as ease of transportation and communication increases. The
literature from other disciplines is notably sparse. Anthropologist
Robert Redfield devoted a full chapter to integration phenomena, but
unfortunately, Redfield never devised a satisfactory method for study-
ing the phenomena, although he articulated related concepts with some
Anthropologists who have studied Brazi)ian cominunities have
coaeented on the integration of larger entities with these cocnunities,
but this integration has rarely been a major focus of their analyses.
Charles Wagley pointed out that the community is a "specialized unit of
a larger and more complex social system."5 He added that there are
social groups cutting across communities that bind these groups to a
larger regional or national society, but that it is "important to have
an integrated picture of a culture as it functions in a particular con-
Robert Shirley is one of a few anthropologists who have treated
the problem of integration among different levels of locality groups,
especially the influence of a metropolis on outlying communities. In
a re-study of the formerly isolated rural community of Cunha, he brought
out the fact that rapid changes in attitudes, life styles, and levels
of living are due almost directly to the integration of residents of
smill communities with the metropolitan cormunity.53 He insisted that
the metropolis plays a central iole in rural change. and he 1xinted out
that integration of rural areas with national (i.e., metropolitan)
concerns is an irreversible trend in Brazil Indeed, recent data sup-
port the contention that Brazilian society is no longer primarily inte-
grated on the level of the rural neighborhood and is becouinq a less
segmented, homogenized society.5 The present study adds additional
data to support this statement.
The organization of the data presented in this study follows
in its greater part the frame of reference designed by 7. Lynn Smith:
the identification of various types of locality groups and their
socio-ecological integration within a metropolitan community system.
1. T. Lynn Smith, "Some Aspects of Rural Community Development
in Brazil," Luso-Brazilian Review, X:l, (June) 1973, pp. 5-6.
2. See Margaret Stacey, "The Myth of Community Studies,"
British Journal of Sociology, XX:2, (June) 1969, p. 135.
3. Charles H. Cooley, Social Organization (New York: Charles
Scribner's Sons, 1909). Cooley did not use the word secondary, but
he indicated that primary was used in contrast with another class of
groups that have since come to known as secondary.
4. Emile Durkheim, The Division of Labor, trans. by G. Simpson
(Glencoe, Ill.: The Free Press, 1947), p. 131.
5. Cooley, p. 23.
6. Robert M. MacIver, Society: Its Structure and Changes (New
York: R. Long and R. R. Smith, Inc., 1931), p. 9.
7. T. Lynn Smith, The Sociology of Rural Life, 3rd ed. (New York:
Harper & Brothers, 1953), p. 378.
8. Charles J. Galpin, The Social Anatomy of an Agricultural Com-
munity, Wisconsin AES Bulletin 34 (Madison: University of Wisconsin,
9. Robert E. Park and Ernest W. Burgess, The City (Chicago:
University of Chicago Press, 1925).
10. Roderick D. McKenzie, "The Rise of Metropolitan Communities,"
in Recent Social Trends: Report of the President's Research Committee
on Social Trends, I (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1933), 443-96.
11. For discussion of this taxonomy see T. Lynn Smith, La socio-
logia y el process de desarrollo de la comunidad, Technical documents,
UP series H/VII, 20.2 (Washington: Pan American Union, (March) 1964),
pp. 1-8; T. Lynn Smith, Colombia: Social Structure and the Process of
Development (Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 1967), pp. 295-99;
T. Lynln Smith, "Some Aspects," pp. 6-7; T. Lynn Smith and Paul G. Zopf,
Jr., Principles of Inductive Rural Sociology (Philadelphia: F. A. Davis
Co., 1970), pp. 260-62.
12. Charles J. Galpin, Rural Life (New York: D. Appleton-Century
Co., 1918), p. 97.
13. Robert E. Park, Human Communities (Glencoe, Ill.: The Free
14. Smith, Colombia, p. 289.
15. P. A. Sorokin, Carle C. Zimmerman, and Charles J. Galpin, A
Systematic Source Book in Rural Sociology, 3 vols. (Minneapolis:
University of Minnesota Press, 1930-1932), I:307-8.
16. T. Lynn Smith, Brazil: People and Institutions, 4th ed. (Baton
Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1972), pp. 430-31.
17. Smith, Brazil, pp. 430-31.
18. James M. Williams, Our Rural Heritage (New York: Alfred A.
Knopf, Inc., 1925), p. 21.
19. John H. Kolb, Rural Primary Groups, Wisconsin AES Bulletin 51
(Madison: University of Wisconsin, 1921).
20. Carle C. Zimmerman and Carl C. Taylor, Rural Organization: A
Study of Primary Groups in Wake County, North Carolina, North Carolina
AES Bulletin 245 (Raleigh: North Carolina State College, 1922).
21. Paul J. Jehlik and J. Edwin Losey, Rural Social Organization
in Henry County, Indiana, AES Bulletin 568 (Lafayette, Ind.: 1951);
Paul J. Jehlik and Ray E. Wakely, Rural Organization in Process: A Case
Study of Hamilton County, Iowa, Iowa AES Bulletin 365 (Ames: Iowa State
College, 1955); John H. Kolb, Energing Rural Communities (Madison:
University of Wisconsin Press, 1959).
22. Orlando Fals-Borda, "Saucio: A Sociological Study of a Rural
Community in Columbia," Master's thesis (Minneapolis: University of
Minnesota, (June) 1952); materials incrpoporated in Peasant Society in
the Colombian Andes: A Sociological Study of Saucio (Gainesville:
University of Florida Press, 1955).
23. Ernesto E. Vautier and Orlando Fals-Borda, La vereda de Cham-
bimbal: Estudio y accion en vivienda rural (Centro Interamericano de
Vivienda y Planeamiento, 1958).
24. Smith, Brazil, pp. 445-46.
25. Amos H. Hawley, Human Ecology: A Theory of Community Structure
(New York: The Ronald Press Co., 1950), p. 256.
26. Galpin, Social Anatomy, pp. 18-19.
27. Irwin T. Sanders and Douglas Ensminger, Alabanw Rural Communi-
ties: A Study of Chilton County, Alabama College Bulletin 136 (Montevallo:
28. Norman W. Painter, "The Ecological Basis of Social Systems in
Turrialba," in C. P. Loomis, J. D. Morales, P. A. Clifford, and 0. E.
Leonard (eds.), Turrialba: Social Systems and the Introduction of Change
Glencoe, Ill.: The Free Press, 1953), ch. VI.
29. John V. D. Saunders, "Delineation of a Florida County-Seat
Community," Rural Sociology, 21:2 (1956), pp. 1-2.
30. Smith, "Some Aspects," p. 13.
31. Charles J. Galpin, cited by T. Lynn Smith, "The Locality Group
Structure of Brazil," American Sociological Review, IX:; (1944), pp.
32. Smith, Colombia, p. 309; T. Lynn Smith, Studies of Latin-
American Societies (New York: Doubleday-Anchor, 1970), p. 156.
33. Chauncy D. Harris, Salt Lake City: A Regional Capital, Doctoral
dissertation (Chicago: University of Chicago, 1941); Edward L. Pullman,
Mobile: Industrial Seaport and Trade Center, Doctoral dissertation
(Chicago: University of Chicago, 1943); Robert E. Dickinson, The City
Region in Western Europe (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, Ltd., 1967);
F. H. W. Green, "Urban Hinterlands in England and Wales: An Analysis of
Bus Services," Geographical Journal, 116(1-3):64-81 (1950).
34. J. Beaujeu-Garnier and G. Chabot, Urban Geography, trans. by
G. M. Yglesias and S. H. Beaver (London: Longmans, Green and Co., Ltd.,
1967), ch. 28.
35. Green, "Urban Hinterlands," p. 276.
36. Roderick D. McKenzie, On Human Ecology, ed. by Amos H. Hawley
(Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1968), p. 245.
37. McKenzie, On Human Ecology, p. 259.
38. McKenzie, On Human Ecology, p. 260-66.
39. Robert E. Park and C. Newcomb, "Newspaper Circulation and
Metropolitan Regions," in Roderick D. McKenzie, The Metropolitan Com-
munity (New York: McGraw-Hill Book Co., Inc., 1933), pp. 98-110.
40. Howard L. Green, "Hinterland Boundaries of New York City and
Boston in Southern New England," in Jack P. Gibbs (ed.), Urban Research
Methods (Princeton, N.J.: D. Van Nostrand Co., Inc., 1961), p. 288.
41. Donn K. Haglund, The Areal Extent of the Milwaukee Hinterlands,
Cited in Bollens and Schmandt, The Metropolis (New York: Harper & kow, 1965),
42. John C. Bollens and Hunry J. Schmandt, The Metropolis (New
York: Harper and Row, 1965), p. 53.
43. Roberto iobato Correa, "As regioes de influincia urbana," in
Novo paisagens do Brasil, Biblioteca Geografica Brasileira, series D,
publication no. 2 (Rio de Janeiro: Fundapao IBGE, 1968), pp. 183-92;
Roberto Lobato Correa, "Contribuigao ao estudo do papel dirigente das
metropoles brasileiras," Revista Brasileira de Geografia, 30:2 (1968),
pp. 56-87; Pedro Pinchas Geiger, Evolu;ao da rede urbana, Collection
"O Brasil urbano" no. 1 (Rio de Janeiro: Centro de Pesquisas Educaci-
44. Smith, La socioloogia, pp. 1-8.
45. Galpin, Rural Life, p. 91.
46. T. Lynn Smith, Farm Trade Centers in Louisiana, 190.1-1931,
Louisiana AES Bulletin 234 (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University,
1933), pp. 54-55.
47. T. Lynn Smith, "The Homogenization of Society in the United
States," Memoire du XIX Congress International de Sociologie (Mexico,
1960), 11:245-75; T. Lynn Smith, The Process of Rural Development in
Latin America, University of Florida Monographs: Social Science no.
33 (Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 1967), p. 83; see also
Smith and Zopf, Principles.
48. Dwight Sanderson, Rural Social and Economic Areas in Central
New York, Cornell AES Bulletin 614 (Ithaca, N.Y.: 1934), p. 95.
49. Carle C. Zimermnan and Garry Moneo, The Prairie Community
System (n.p.: Agricultural Economics Research Council of Canada, 1970).
50. Robert Redfield, The Little Community/Peasant Society and
Culture (Chicago: University of Chicago (Phoenix Books), 1960), pp.
51. Charles Wagley, Amazon Town (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1953),
52. Wagley, Amazon Town, p. 261.
53. Robert Shirley, The End of a Tradition: Cultural Change and
Development in the Municipio of Cunha, Sao Paulo, Brazil (New York:
Columbia University Press, 1971), p. 254.
54. Smith, Brazil, pp. 691-92.
METROPOLITAN COMMUNITY SYSTEM
Evolution of the Metropolitan
Community System of Belo Horizonte
The present metropolitan community system of Belo Horizonte
is less than a quarter of a century old. The dominance of Belo
Horizonte came about when the metropolis, capital of the state of
Minas Gerais, began to assume the role of socio-economic integrator
of wide parts of its administrative territory, which previously had
been either isolated ard little integrated within the local and with
the national society or more influenced by two older and larger
Brazilian metropolises, Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo.
The area involved in this metropolitan community is part of
the Eastern Highlands of Brazil. This inland area is characterized
by hilly uplands dominated by the Serra de Espinhaao, a mountain range
that runs through the center of Minas Gerais into the neighboring state
of Bahia. Due to the kind of rock formations and topography, only a
few parts of this region are suited to large-scale agriculture. The
northern portion that has a terrain suitable for large farming opera-
tions lacks enough rainfall for such farming. Many landowners have
turned to stock-raising as an economically viable activity given the
climate. Luckily, however, this mountainous region is the site of
major deposits of iron, limestone, and non-ferrous metals. High-grade
iron ore, the economically most important of these resources, exists
in vast quantities and is the basis of a rapidly developing iron and
steel industry, which has resulted in an influx of population and a
growing urban-industrial development in the metropolitan community.
Changing Social Forms
In the Metropolitan Community of Belo Horizonte
The area occupied by the metropolitan community of Belo
Horizonte has assumed two major social forms in the past and is now
well into the third. The first, that of initial formation, lasted
about a century, from the first settlement in the 1690s until a decline
in gold and diamond mining at the beginning of the nineteenth century.
The second, from the early 1800s to the beginning of the Second World
War, was a period of economic decline of mining centers and of disper-
sion of population into isolated farms and villages in peripheral areas
suited to farming and agro-pastoral activities. During this second
period, near the end of the nineteenth century, the planned capital
city of Minas Gerais was established at Belo Horizonte, but for some
time it remained a small provincial town with little socio-economic
influence beyond a few neighboring satellite villages and open country
farms. The third phase, commencing during the Second World War and
continuing to the present, has been a period of the formation of the
metropolitan community of Belo Horizonte, aided by the growing use of
automobile and truck transport ard the advent of hard-surfaced highways
connecting the metropolis to many formerly isolated communities.
The Period of Initial Settlement
During the first period, 1690-1810, the region was settled as
a result of exploratory expeditions from earlier developed population
centers in Bahia and Sao Paulo.l Travelers from coastal ports used
river and arduous overland pack transportation to arrive at settlements
on sites of scattered deposits of precious metals and stones. The
economic base of these settlements was limited to the extraction of
gold and diamonds. Widely dispersed mining sites formed the nuclei of
settlements in the mountain regions of central Minas Gerais, especially
along two rivers, the Rio das Mortes in the south and the Rio das
Velhas, near the present site of Belo Horizonte.
These settlements were urban in character and economy, with a
full-time specialized mining labor force dependent on a well-developed
agricultural sector geared to the production of food crops for con-
sumption in the mining towns. From the beginning the riches of the
region were exported from Brazil to Portugal, and most non-food goods
originated outside of the mining region. There was little contact
among the mining towns of this period, partly because of relative
physical isolation and partly becuase of the absence of any symbiotic
interdependence among these towns. Each town sent its product directly
by river, or overland, to port cities and received supplies from the
outside. During this hundred-and-twenty-year period many of these
towns, now part of the metropolitan community of Belo Horizonte, were
established, but there is no evidence of the existence of networks of
mutual ties. As boomtowns, some of the mining settlements had larger
populations in the eighteenth century than today.
Decline of Mining Settlements and Dispersion of Population
During the second period, 1810-1940, the mining region of Minas
Gerais experienced economic and demographic decline in the towns and
dispersion of the population into isolated farms and rural villages,
which served as religious, administrative, and service centers for a
limited hinterland. The population was dispersed in the countryside,
and rural residents made only periodic visits to the villages. Many of
the houses in these villages were owned by fazendeiros, rural land-
owners, and were unoccupied except on holidays and at other times of
celebration. The permanent populations of the villages were small,
consisting of shopkeepers, tradesmen, the clergy, and the poor. Some
of the population from the declining mining region migrated to the
southern and eastern zones (Zona Sul and Zona da Mata) of Minas Gerais,
where export economies developed from the production of coffee and also
of cattle, hides, cotton, and sugar. The first large city in Minas
Gerais, Juiz de Fora, developed during this period because of the
diversified investments of coffee barons and the opening of road and
rail connections in the 1860s and 1870s to the port and consumption
market of Rio de Janeiro.4
The creation of the Brazilian republic in 1889 magnified the
importance of state governments and state politicians, who became in-
terested in developing and integrating states as territorial entities.
Toward this end, many political leaders in Minas Gerais, despite opposi-
tion from traditional interests, favored moving the state capital from
Ouro Preto, the colonial mining capital, because it lacked the topo-
graphic requisites for physical expansion, which state leaders felt
was imminent. The final selection of a site for the new capital resulted
from a compromise among three contending and already established cities:
Juiz de Fora, Barbacena, and Sao Joao del Kei. A totally new city,
later named Belo Horizonte, was planned on a site chosen for healthful
climate: availability of water supply; suitable topography, with a wide
area for building and expansion; natural beauty; and central location
in the state.5 The possibility of opening rail links to the capital
allowed it to be located closer to the center of the state, lessening
the degree of isolation that had kept Ouro Preto from developing into
a populous, influential center.
As the city of Belo Horizonte was established and began to grow
as an administrative center, Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro experienced
a burgeoning economic growth during the First World War, when decline
in international trade favored domestic industries. At this time the
influence of Rio de Janeiro was extended into the Zona da Mata, and
the influence of Sao Paulo into the Zona Sul, primarily because of
road and railroad building.
After the war the mining region near Belo Horizonte experienced
a change in the pattern of population distribution, because of invest-
ments by foreign steel companies in various mines, processing plants,
and company towns, such as Sabara, Itabira, and Joao Monlevade. The
rural community areas surrounding the villages that had developed in
the mining region during the previous century lost some population to
the company towns, because of the attraction and security of industrial
jobs and company benefits. Foreign companies, however, were more in-
terested in exporting semi-processed ore or pig iron than in investing
in ambitious steel mills, since domestic consumption of steel in Brazil
was still low. Furthermore, the country lacked the quality and quantity
of coal necessary for steel production, and the simple processing plants
that were set up had to rely on expensive imported coal or locally
produced charcoal. Thus, despite great expectations for making Minas
Gerais the steel capital of latin America, the iron industry remained
at a fairly static rate of production, with a low level of employment,
throughout the 1930s and 1940s.6
Therefore, in spite of the devleopment of these small urban
industrial centers, the dominant settlement pattern throughout the
region during the second period was a dispersed arrangement of homo-
geneous, unintegrated, nearly self-sufficient rural communities. With
the possible exception of Juiz de Fora, there were no urban centers of
significant influence to rival the increased penetration into the state
by the influence areas of Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo.
Emergence of the Metropolitan Community
The third period, 1940 to the present, has been characterized
by growth of differentiation and interdependence among the communities
of Minas Gerais, and this growth culminated with the emergence of Belo
Horizonte as the center of a metropolitan community system. The decline
in international trade that accompanied the Second World War gave an
impetus to the establishment of industry in Belo Horizonte and its
environs. An industrial park was established on the western outskirts
of the city and achieved a certain degree of success, only to suffer a
decline after the end of the war. Nevertheless, the park has survived
and has added to the functional diversity of Belo Horizonte, which had
previously been limited to a primarily administrative function.
After a period of relative stagnation, political initiatives
led to critical programs of investment in highways that effectively
linked Belo Horizonte to most parts of Minas Gerais. Prior to 1955 the
only paved intercity highway was from Rio de Janeiro to Juiz de Fora, a
total of 108 miles, of which on 26 miles were within the state. By
1957 a massive highway program had begun with the expressed policy of
linking Belo Horizonte to the outlying portions of the state: Governador
Valadares in the east, the Triangulo panhandle in the west, the Zona da
Mata in the southeast, and the Zona Sul in the southwest. Unpaved
roads had existed since the nineteenth century, but these roads were
generally in poor condition and impassable at certain times of the year.
The 1957 road improvement program coincided with the construc-
tion of Brasilia. Since building this national capital required massive
movement of personnel, equipment, and materials, the road to Brasilia
became a prerequisite for the venture. During the same period Brazilian-
based factories began to manufacture all types of motor vehicles, making
them more available and less expensive, thus reducing the time and cost
of traveling between various centers.
Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, Belo Horizonte experienced in-
tense urbanization, population growth, influx of rural migrants, and
functional diversification. During the post-war period the city's popu-
lation reached 250,000, the projected population size of the original
urban plan, and by 1972 it was almost six times that size 1.4 million).
At the same time it became increasingly multi-functional through indus-
trial expansion, increased tourism, and the growth of specialized institu-
tions. In the commercial sector, wholesale distribution of manufactured
and agricultural products increased. The traditional administrative
functions of government diversified with the founding of universities,
hospitals, and agencies concerned with social welfare (such as social
security and health insurance).
Concurrently, the metropolitan community system was forming, as
small) cities became satellites of the metropolis or, if remote, became
sub-centers that integrated surrounding towns and villages into their
community areas. Since land use in the central city was primarily de-
voted to governmental functions, the new suburbs, such as Contagem,
became industrial centers integrated with the central city through con-
tiguous settlement and frequent bus service. More distant cities located
on major transportation routes were becoming regional sub-centers and
also grew in both population size and functional diversity, e.g.,
Divinopolis and Governador Valadares. Other, more isolated centers
grew to become trade and service cities by expanding their contacts
with additional small towns and villages in the rural areas, e.g.,
Curvelo, Campo Belo, and Formiga.
Today, important changes are taking place in the marketing
territories of cities within the metropolitan community system. The
links these cities have with the metropolis allow these cities to per-
form the intermediate stage in distribution of products and services.
In addition, transportation systems are now sufficiently advanced to
allow the products of agricultural areas to be marketed in the metrop-
olis and other urban centers where demand is high. The milk shed of
Belo Horizonte, for exsnplc, radiates 100 miles from the cicy, with
deliveries daily from rural areas to pasteurizing plants in the city.
Whereas previously most agricultural produce was trucked in from Sao
Paulo, where large-scale commercial agriculture and warehousing
facilities had competed for markets in Minas Gerais, within the last
five years the agricultural area around Belo Horizonte has begun to
supply many of the city's needs.
Delineating the Metropolitan Community
As happened in the United States in the 1930s,7 the adminis-
trators of metropolitan agencies in Belo Horizonte have become interest-
ed in determining the influence area of the metropolis for commercial,
administrative, and institutional purposes. The municipio governments
has set up an agency, SUDECAP (Superintendencia de Capital), to deal
with the area within the boundary of the municipio of Belo Horizonte.
The agency has been concerned with varied planning operations, such as
agricultural warehousing facilities, zoning regulations, street build-
ing and improvement, water and sewage systems, lighting, and other
urban facilities. In order to plan for future growth of the urban core,
the delineation of a metropolitan influence area, using the agricultural
supply zone, has been completed by SUDECAP. Another agency, PLA 4BEL
(Plano Metropolitano de Belo Horizonte), limits itself to the fifteen
municfpios that form the metropolitan area and has concerned itself
with broad plans and projections for industrial development and popula-
tion growth for the satellite area, in an effort to predetermine direc-
tions of change. PIAMBEL originally made studies of metropolitan influ-
ences in this area in order to determine the municipios which have most
intense interaction with Belo Horizonte and which, therefore, should be
included in the planning area.
National and state agencies including IBGE (Instituto Erasileiro
de Geografia e Estatfstica)10 and CEDEPLAR (Centro de Desenvolvimento
e Planejamento Regional da Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais)11 have
delineated the boundaries separating the influence areas of Brazil's
three major metropolises, Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and Belo Horizonte.
These boundaries and those of subordinate communities are determined by
one or more of the following economic and social indicators of community
interaction: volume of telephone calls, letters, and telegrams; cargo
and passenger transport; and wholesale goods distribution (by origin
and destination); number of secondary school students and hospital
patients (by origin); amount of federal and state investments (by loca-
tion); and number of state and federal employees (by location).
Much of this macroscopic data has been used by the author to
supplement data on the milk shed, the food supply area, the newspaper
circulation zone, the radio service area, and other patronage areas
used for the composite metropolitan community delineation shown in
Figure 1. Also shown on this map are the jurisdictional zones of two
agencies, the state government's CODEVALE (Companhia de Desenvolvimento
do Vale do Jequitinhonha)12 and the federal government's SUDENE (Super-
intendencia de Desenvolvimento de Nordeste), which fall within the
influence area of Belo Horizonte as shown on the map.
CODEVALE is a specialized agency formed to aid the economically
least developed and least populous portion of the state of Minas
Gerais, the valley of the Jequetinhanha river. It has been largely
concerned with bringing electricity, roads, and industry into the area.
This development program is bringing about the more intense integration
of this very isolated area with the metropolis and the rest of the area
of the community. Simlarly, SUDENE has offered incentives for development
I I *i
; 9 bb ..b.
: .. o0
.. .. _: . . . . .
in its jurisdictional area, part of which is within the region under
study. (SUDENE's activities encompass portions of many states in the
northeastern region of Brasil.) Through financial incentives such as
tax write-offs and technical assistance, SUDENE has encouraged much
investment in northern Minas Gerais, especially in the largest city
within its jurisdiction, Montes Claros, where foreign and other out-of-
state investments have been attracted by incentive programs. As a
result, this region is becoming economically more integrated with the
national economy via institutions in the metropolis of Belo Horizonte.
Figure 1 also shows the relative location of the metropolitan community
system within Brazil as a whole.
Classification and Integration of Locality Groups
In the Metropolitan Cormunity
The present study of locality groups within the metropolitan
community of Belo Horizonte has given the author sufficient data to
make the present classification of locality groups found in this com-
munity and to describe the integration among different classificatory
categories, or levels. T. Lynn Smith has given the most universal
classification scheme (see Chapter 2). This useful scheme has been
elaborated by distinguishing certain sub-types of Smith's categories,
reflecting the specific qualities of Brazilian locality groups in the
Three sub-types of rural neighborhoods, two sub-types of in-
complete communities, and three sub-types of urban communities were
found; these sub-types are described and discussed in subsequent
chapters. A complete list of locality groups under discussion follows.
Types of Locality Groups Sub-Types Distinguished
Rural neighborhood Fazenda-type
Incomplete community Hamlet-type
Urban community Factory-city-centered
Although all of the subordinate types of locality groups listed
exist within the metropolitan community, it is not always the case that
all lower-level types are found within each level. For example, some
urban communities have urban communities within their limits, but
others do not.
The present study is also addressed to the description and analy-
sis of the changing significance of various levels of ecological integra-
tion among locality groups. Whereas previously the most significant
level of integration for rural residents was the rural neighborhood,
the advent of rapid transportation and communication has brought the
rural resident into greater and more intense contact with rural and
urban communities and into infrequent but important interaction with
urban centers where specialized goods and services are obtained.
The following chapters, therefore, show how the changing eco-
logical structure of the metropolitan community of Belo Horizonte
reflects a nigher degree of differentiation within the same set of
locality groups previously distinguished and how that higher degree of
differentiation results in the integration of rural residents with
higher levels of locality groups.
1. Cr. R. Boxer, The Golden Age of Brazil, 1695-1750 (Berkeley:
University of California Press, 1964), p. 35; Caio Prado, Junior. The
Colonial Background of Modern Brazil, trans. by Suzette Macedo
(Berkeley; University of California Press, 1969), p. 198. Dates
cited for periodization are approximate.
2. Prado, Colonial Background, p. 187.
3. T. Lynn Smith, Brazil: People and Institutions, 4th ed.
(Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1972), p. 428.
4. Fernando Correa Dias, A imagem de Minas (Belo Horizonte:
Imprensa Oficial, 1948), p. 8.
5. Nelson Coelho Senlna, 0 ciquentenario de Belo Horizonte (Belo
Horizonte: Imprensa Oficial, 1948), p. 8.
6. Rollie E. Poppino, Brazil: The Land and the People (New York:
Oxford University Press, 1968), pp. 248-52.
7. Roderick D. McKenzie, On Human Ecology (Chicago: University
of Chicago Press, 1968), pp. 255-60.
8. Superintendency of the Capital (author's translation).
9. Metropolitan Plan for relo Horizonte (author's translation).
10. Brazilian Institute for Geography and Statistics (author's
11. Center of Regional Planning and Economic Development ot the
Federal University of Minas Gerais (author's translation),
12. Development Company of the Jequetinhonha PJver Valley (author's
13. Superintendency of Northeastern Development (author's transla-
LEVELS OF LOCALITY GROUPS
THEIR INTEGRATION WITHIN THE METROPOLITAN CGCJ4UNITY
Varieties of Rural Neighborhoods
In this chapter the rural neighborhood is discussed as one
classification of locality group. After definition of the concept of
rural neighborhood, traditional rural neighborhoods from the state of
Minas Gerais in Brazil are described. Discussion of this older form
of rural neighborhood is followed by evidence to show that today the
process of community integration of neighborhoods, especially in areas
where a metropolitan community system is in a state of formation, has
changed internal structures and behavior patterns while it has increased
functional relationships between the neighborhoods and the larger society.
Three types of rural neighborhoods found in the metropolitan community
of Belo Horizonte are defined, and case studies of each type are pres-
ented in order to show the nature and extent of changes in social and
ecological structure of these locality groups, the processes of social
interaction within them, and the material culture of their residents. A
discussion of the criteria for selection of in-depth case studies and an
overview of the data collection techniques precedes the presentation of
the materials on types of neighborhoods. However, discussion of the
integration of rural neighborhoods with higher levels of locality groups
and the larger society is dealt with in later chapters.
The Rural Neighborhood
The rural neighborhood is a territorial area where residents
interact with high frequency in face-to-face relationships and where
the primary economic activity is agricultural and/or pastoral. There
is in such a locality an intense territorial consciousness, to be meas-
ured by the sense of belonging that residents express about the territory
and by the fact that outsiders identify residents with that territory.
The rural neighborhood contains a limited number of shared institutions
that are patronized by residents, but these are not the complete spectrum
of institutions necessary for a full or complete social life. Residents
often live on the land they work, and consequently a low population
density occurs with this type of locality group.
In Europe and some Spanish-American countries, farm families
and agricultural workers generally live in nucleated settlements, such
as hamlets, villages, or towns, apart from the land they work. But in
Brazil and the United States, the dispersed rural neighborhood, consist-
ing of scattered farmsteads, has been the basic unit of social integration
in the agricultural portions of these countries. The general type of
rural neighborhood in Brazil, prior to the 1950s, has been characterized
as being highly integrated within itself, consisting of a small number of
families living on farms situated close together and having an informal
system of mutual aid based on common interests, kinship, and conmnon insti-
tutions.2 A basic distinction between types of rural neighborhoods in
Brazil has traditionally been made between neighborhoods of peasant small-
holders and those of workers on medium- and large-scale farms.3 Changes
in this traditional typology are illustrated in type descriptions and
The traditional rural neighborhoods of Minas Gerais were
influenced by the fact of highly irregular terrain, especially in the
areas of initial settlement that created difficulties in transportation
and communication, because of the necessity of overcoming natural barriers
under the limitations of simple technology. Traditionally, the majority
of holdings were large, but after the abolition of slavery, groups of
small-holders were attached to marginal lands near large holdings, form-
ing isolated neighborhoods of farmers living on small pieces of land,
which furnished a pool of laborers and sharecroppers to large proprietors.
In southern Minas Gerais large landholdings have become relatively rare,
primarily because of the breaking up of estates through inheritance,
but many other sections of Minas Gerals still show a mixture of small,
medium, and large landholdings.
Three major types of rural neighborhoods are found in the
metropolitan community of Belo Horizonte: the fazenda neighborhood; the
nucleated, small-farm neighborhood; and the scattered farmstead, small-
farm neighborhood. The traditional distinction between neighborhoods
of workers and those of peasants seems to be less useful here, since in
the present study most small-holders interviewed also worked seasonally
as day laborers on medium- and large-scale farms. Furthermore, workers
who had previously been full-time laborers on medium- and large-scale
farms were also involved in subsistence production, because of the break-
down of close patron-client ties with the fazendeiros, the owners of
large farms. Thus, neighborhood types seem to be best classified by a
combination of size of holding and settlement pattern criteria rather
than by designation of worker and peasant.
The three types of neighborhoods have responded in slightly
different ways to the growing influence of social change, largely emeig-
ing from the metropolitan center. The technological obstacles to rapid
transportation and communication are increasingly being surmounted,
decreasing the isolation of rural settlements, bringing in outside
expectations, facilitating the outward migration of the rural popula-
tion, and breaking down some of the traditional institutions of mutual
aid. The fazenda neighborhood has been most influenced by the break-
down of patron-client relationships due to an exodus from the land of
many fazendeiros and workers. The nucleated, small-farm neighborhood
and the scattered farmstead, small-farm neighborhood have been most
influenced by the increasing entrance of small-holders into the market
economy, turning from a dependence on subsistence production to a
reliance on cash crops, although the Brazilian small-farmer has never
been totally isolated from the market economy, since he has tradition-
ally sold surpluses to obtain specialized goods. In addition, many
of these neighborhoods now have access to the institutions of trade
and service centers of various sizes, with improved road systems allow-
ing for better bus and milk truck service. This access has changed
the material culture of these neighborhoods and has brought residents
into a milieu characterized by varieties of functional relationships.
These generalizations about the characteristics and the changes in rural
neighborhoods are more fully developed as various types are reviewed
in more detail and as case studies are presented.
Selection and Delineaticn of Rural Neighborhoods
The author visited fourteen. rural neighborhoods in eight
municipios near the limits of the influence area of the metropolitan
community of Belo Horizonte, in several different regions characterized
by different kinds of economic activities in addition to agro-pastoral
ones: a cross-section of the rural neighborhoods of the metropolitan
community. Since rural residents are often suspicious of outsiders'
intentions, the author chose municfpios in which he had extensive con-
tacts to facilitate data gathering. In some instances several rural
neighborhoods within a single rural community were studied in order
to obtain data on the relationship among neighborhoods and with their
Among the three regions from which the rural neighborhoods
selected for study were chosen, there is variation in the areas of (I)
topography and climate, (2) relative importance of various economic
activities, (3) demographic density, (4) size of holdings, (5) quality
and quantity of paved highways, and (6) proximity of neighborhoods to
nucleated settlements of various rypes.
The Campos da Mantiqueir. region is the most hilly and high
in altitude, with a moist climate; best suited of the three for mixed
agro-pastoral activity. 'hrh most important extractive industries in
the region are based on an abundance of limestone, making line, cement,
and stone-masonry industries significant. The area has high demographic
density, settled early in the colonial period, with small and cedium-
size farms prevalent. There is an extensive network of paved highways
connecting the region with Rio de Janeiro. Sao Paulo, and Belo Horizonte.
In the general area are numerous rural, urban, and urban community
centers of various types, which are so densely spaced as to be avail-
able to residents of most rural neighborhoods. 'n this region, four
municipios contain rural neighborhoods selected for study; these muni-
cfpios are Barbacena, Barroso, Sao Joao del Rei, and Resende Costa.
In the region of the Alto Sao Francisco the land is charac-
terized by a relatively flat terrain, with semi-arid climate; more
suited to pastoral than to agricultural activities, except for areas
near rivers or other sources of water. No extractive or industrial
activities of large scale were found, except for the production of
charcoal, which is trucked to the steel region near Belo Horizonte.
The area has low demographic density and relative large-scale holdings.
The recently opened artery to Brasilia is one of the few paved highways
in the region, but there are basically well-maintained dirt roads
throughout the area. There are no large urban centers, and the rural
trade and service centers are widely spaced. Because of its large
administrative territory, in this region Pompeu is the only n.unicipio
from which rural neighborhoods were selected
The Siderdgica region has an irregular terrain but is lower
in altitude than the Campos da Mantiqucira. The clinate is suitable
for both agricultural and pastoral activity. The region is an important
center for the extraction of iron ore and for the processing of steel,
which depends upon the production of coal. The demographic density has
sharply increased in the last two decades, due to the iron industry,
but rural areas have lost population to mining and industrial towns.
There is a mixture of small, medium, and large holdings. The number of
paved roads is increasing to support the iron industry, although their
quality and quantity are inferior to roads in the Campos da MantJqueira
region. There are a number of specialized mining and industrial cities
as well as traditional rural trade and service centers, but the former
do not tend to serve the rural residents as do the multi-functional
cities of the Campos da Mantiqueira. Three of the municipios of this
region contain rural neighborhoods selected for this study; these muni-
cipios are Sao Domingos do Prata, Dion6sio, and Dom Silvirio (see
The socio-ecological boundaries of each neighborhood studied
are based on interviews with residents supplemented by direct observa-
tion. Official maps of the municipios, obtained either from the
Departamento de Geo-Cigncias in Belo Horizonte or directly from the
local gover-ient, often showed the principal roads, rivers, and streams;
names and locations of important settlements; and, in some instances,
locations of schools and chapels. Upon entering the locality, the
author, with the help of informants, drew working maps of the area,
locating the approximate positions of houses, schools, chapels, stores,
roads, trails, and streams. Residents were interviewed to determine
the name of the place where they lived, where their children went to
school, .here they worked, where they attended church, where informal
visits w-re trade, and where they mde purchases and/or obtl.ined services.
Frro an analysis of these data, lines were diawn around certain clusters
of houses to indicate the boundaries of the area of social interaction.
The adal-sis of data indicating contacts made by local residents with
the larger ccerunity in terms of trade and service is dealt with in a
a vB B <<
2 52 m0, ll 5 f
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The Fazenda Neighborhood
The fazenda neighborhood consists of groups of large farms
or ranches, fazendas, that are devoted primarily to dairy and beef
cattle production supplemented by mixed crops. In many instances this
type of neighborhood is located far from any large nucleated settle-
ment. It can be found in all regions of the state of Hinas Gerais,
although the actual size of territory in the neighborhood varies a
good deal because of variations in size of landholdings. The tradi-
tional fazenda as defined above was characterized by a high degree of
social isolation. This isolation of the fazenda neighborhood has been
moderated by improvements in basic road connections necessitated by
the primary economic activity of such farms, dairy and beef cattle
production. Fazendas that specialize in homemade cheese and/or beef
cattle tend to be in greater isolation than farms that must supply
milk to regional processing plants or to cheese factories on a daily
basis. This recent integration of the fazendas with the metropolitan
economy has reduced the isolation of the fazenda neighborhoods. The
daily deliveries require better transportation facilities which, in
turn, lessen social isolation. The farm owners, fazendeiros, put con-
tinual pressure on local government to improve farm-to-market roads.
Nevertheless, the need of large landholdings for pastures tends to
isolate some types of cattle fazendas from each other and from nucleated
settlements. This isolation is intensified by hilly terrain and numer-
ous streams. However, it should be emphasized that this type of neigh-
borhood, despite its partial isolation, still depends on outside insti-
tutions for the satisfaction of many needs.
The present settlement pattern is in most cases focused
around the "big h.use" of the original fazenda together with its out-
buildings. By inheritance, most of the original large holdings had
been sub-divided into various tazendas often owned by kinsmen, de-
scendants of the original owner. Wage workers, renters, sharecroppers,
and traditional dependents lived in various parts of these farms, near
the main houses, at crossroads or milk pick-up points, or on the land
they had been given to work.
Fazenda neighborhoods of this type usually consisted of ten
to twenty families. The roads from fazendas to towns were almost al-
ways dirt, unless the fazenda happened to be located on a main highway
between two major cities. In that case the fazenda was often disso-
ciated from the rural neighborhood and local community, since transport-
ation to the nearest urban area was readily available.
There is a great deal of variation in farm technology in the
area. However, in isolated rural fazenda neighborhoods the most simple
and inexpensive implements were used. Ox carts were the usual means of
transportation within the fazenda, bringing crops or silage from fields
to storage areas. In cultivation of the soil the oxen were also used
to pull plows. However, as pointed out above, little cultivation was
done, and the land was almost totally devoted to natural pastures. The
more modern fazendeiros made silage from elephant grass mixed with green
corn and stalks, or other plants grown for the purpose, such as sorghum
or oats. There have been attempts to encourage the growing of better
silage crops and the improving of pasturage by extension agents of ACAR,
the state extension service.
One of the major problems was lack of machinery, caused by
unwillingness to invest in a venture with potentially low profitability
(both meat and milk have nationally fixed prices) and by difficulties
in obtaining long-term loans. Sometimes the milk cooperatives buy
farm machinery for the joint use of members, but this is rare. In one
locality visited by the author the milk cooperative owned two tractors
with attachments for silage making and other uses. The use of this
machinery was divided among members. Other milk cooperatives have re-
sisted investment in anything not directly connected with either the
production of milk; its handling, storage, and shipment; or the health
The level of living of the workers contrasts with that of the
fazendeiros. The size and quality of construction of the housing was
distinctive. The one-story farm house, known as the "big house" (casa
grande) or the "seat" (casa sede), built in an era when large, extended
families were reared on the fazenda, is reasonably comfortable, although
simple, with accommodations for as many as twenty persons. However,
at the time there were few permanent res-idents: a caretaker and the
fazendeiro (often living there only part of the week). These houses
are well-built, if not especially well-maintained, wood-frame construc-
tions with cement-stucco exteriors and ceramic tile roofs. (One
fazendeiro took the author into a storage area under his house and
kicked handhewn beams at least 30 centimeters in diameter.) The ceil-
ings of the fazenda house are usually high, although sometimes a false
ceiling of straw matting was hung to create a dead air space that was
said to insulate the house from the heat of sumner. The floors are of
wide wooden planks and were rarely covered by any type of carpeting.
These houses stand 1 to li meters above the ground, probably to keep
insects and other fauna from entering. In many cases the main entrance
had several wide steps leading up to a veranda that often ran the full
length of the house. The "big house" of the fazenda usually had
plumbing in both kitchen and bathroom, fed by a holding pond built on
a nearby stream. The water power of this stream had been harnessed
to create a weak source of electric power used only for lighting,
although this power could be diverted to a grist mill for grinding
The dwellings of the workers, in contrast with the "big house,"
are small and in poor condition. These dwellings were constructed of
locally made brick, sometimes covered with plaster or whitewash, and
had tile roofs. Some houses were made of wattle-and-daub and had
thatched roofs, although these were less common, since it is widely
known that the insect (the barboiro) which carries the incurable Chagas
disease lives in the wall and thatch of these constructions, coming out
a night to bite and perhaps to infect sleeping residents. It was more
cocsmon to see wattle-and-daub construction used for storage than for
residence. The workers' houses were built on the ground and had dirt
floors. As many as twelve persons might live in a tiny two- or three-
room building with no electricity or plumbing facilities.
Thus, the fazenda neighborhood is characterized by a clearly
distinguished two-.class social structure that determines the primary
relationships among residents. The fazendeiros and their families
form the upper class, The boundaries of social interaction for members
of this class usually extend far beyond the immediate locality, to
towns and cities, while the boundaries for workers, who comprise the
lower class, are much more restricted, extending not much beyond the
nearest village or town, where they were infrequent visitors. The
fazendeiros were so involved in town life that they frequently main-
tained two residences, one at the farm and another in a nearby town
or city, where their families enjoyed amenities not available in the
country; social clubs, shopping, and better educational facilities.
Possession of a truck of car (sometimes both) enables the fazendeiro
to have geographic mobility. The more intense interaction of fazcn-
deiros and their families with townspeople is correlated with improve-
ments of farm roads and availability of motor vehicles, phenomena
which have arisen during the past fifteen years.
Another push toward maintaining a town life stems from the
isolation from relatives that fazendeiros have increasingly become
aware of. Formerly, the kinsmen who lived near one another, perhaps
on adjacent fazendas, made a difficult trek by ox car or on horseback
to a kinsman's farm only infrequently and on special occasions. often,
when a trip was made, visitors stayed a number of days. In Minas
Gerais the family was and is the single most-valued institution, espe-
cially for upper class members. The family is the source of loans,
advice, marriage partners, and conviviality. Now, with a two-residence
system the fazendeiros' wives and children live in town the majority
of the time, facilitating kin contacts. Thus, with the ease of trans-
portation the town has become a focal point for frequent family get-
togethers without the necessity of long-term visits.
Farm workers, on the other hand, had little access to means
of ready transportation, not had they resources to provide themselves
with more than one residence or the variety of goods and services
available outside the neighborhood. Thus, interactions among workers
and their families are intense and almost exclusive. The fazendeiro
provided, via a system of patron-client relationships, the minimum
necessities and access to crisis aid. But with the fazendeiro's
increasing association with town life, the patron-client ties were
growing weaker, and the workers were becoming more dependent on their
own resources and on public services. This change in dependency pat-
terns has contributed to rural-urban migration of members of the
lower class. The fazendeiro was increasingly considering the workers
a burden as greater demands were put upon him by the passage of
social-security-type legislation for rural workers, for which he must
contribute tax payments. Nevertheless, the workers themselves form
a social group with close interaction, exhibiting the features of a
Gemeinschaft: the predominance of common primary bonds, expressed in
kinship, school patronage, economic activities, and recreational
This social interaction is focused on the few institutions
that exist within a neighborhood. The rural elementary school,
providing three or four years of basic studies, was thought of by
workers as a means of raising their children's chances in life. Some
fazendeiros also sent their children to the rural school for the
primary grades, but most students were from the working class. In
the fazenda neighborhood the images of the outside world enter through
the school, and the teacher herself was a non-agricultural influence
on the neighborhood. With the waning of patron-client obligations
the workers were beginning to feel that their children needed to receive
as much formal education as possible in order to function outside rural
society, but often the teacher, more than the parents, realized the
importance of preparing many of the young to leave the neighborhood.
Thus the teacher served to introduce changed expectations to the parents.
The fazenda school building at times provided the setting for parties,
meetings, and religious or secular celebrations. An important, but
often unfulfilled, expectation was that schools would provide children
with one good meal a day. (Often when foodstuffs were available,
the teacher didn't know what to do with them or didn't have utensils
or facilities to prepare the foods. At other times the food supply
ran out and was not replenished for months.) This was also true in
schools in other types of rural neighborhoods. All rural schools are
run either by the state or by the local government, usually the latter.
As a result, the school has become a favorite place for local politi-
cians to campaign and make inspection tours. Politicians tend to
encourage easily influenced rural people to become just literate enough
to become voters. Thus the rural school has become a vehicle for re-
inforcing a political base.
Formal religious institutions were not so important a focal
point as the school in most fazenda neighborhoods. Traditionally each
fazenda had a chapel, but it was usually for the exclusive use of the
fazendeiro and his family. These chapels were small and not suited
for the saying of mass. Larger rural chapels were usually associated
with small hamlets of small-holders, not with fazendas. As a result,
religious instruction was frequently the function of the wife of the
fazendeiro, who taught her own children and the many godchildren she
sponsored (sometimes as many as ninety) from families of the workers.
This role has been diminished by the fact that the farendeiro's wife
and children now rarely visit the fazenda for long periods of time.
Today, most visits by priests and nuns to the fazendas are limited to
important occasions such as festivals honoring the patron saint of the
locality or marriages. These events were rare, however, since most
ceremonies were performed in town. Priests tended to focus their
ministrations upon rural neighborhoods that have large chapels, and
fazenda workers generally had to raise a quantity of money in order
to induce a priest to come to say mass. In some localities the priests
and nuns were becoming more interested in performing social services
for people: teaching domestic skills, improving agricultural produc-
tivity, and providing a market outlet for surpluses. This type of
activity was not very coenon, however, since a priest was usually in
charge of a large area, including a parish church (matriz) and from
five to thirty rural chapels. The scarcity of priests has caused the
parishes to become larger, and the number of foreign-born priests was
The institution of the family among fazenda workers has tradi-
tionally been less significant than the vertical ties of patronage.
Fazendeiros were frequently asked to serve as godfathers of children
in workers' families, and some of these were taken into upper class
homes and reared as filhos de criacao. There, they and the children
of servants received advantages their parents could never offer. The
increasing breakdown of the vertical ties of patronage did not seem
to have enhanced the internal strength of workers' families. In fact
it seems to have created a force propelling migrants from the fazenda
Integrating ties within the neighborhood are intensified by
the participation of residents in recreational activities. Many fazen-
deiros provided parts of cleared fields, equipped with goal posts, to
serve as soccer fields. Young men and boys could be seen in the early
evening practice-kicking the ball to one another. In well-integrated
neighborhoods, there was often a team which played against teams from
other nearby localities, usually on Sunday afternoons.
Case Studies of Fazenda Neighborhoods
The fazenda neighborhood, characterized by generalizations
above, is being restructured as it loses population because of its
inability to retain workers who have been simultaneously experiencing
declining paternalism and rising expectations. With the loss of popu-
lation, three similar, yet distinctive, patterns seem to be emerging.
1. A large fazenda neighborhood seems to be emerging, with
a slightly smaller population than it once had, but with governmental
agencies providing some of the security lost in the breakdown of patron-
client ties. This emergence has been accompanied by a development of
commercial agriculture and stock-raising, with strict employer-employee
relationships and an increase in absentee ownership. This type is
exemplified by Laranja.
2. There is also a neighborhood composed of medium-scale
fazendas as farming units run by the owner, each of which employs only
a couple of hands for more rigorous tasks and relies increasingly on
mechanization to replace labor. Sao Bento is an example of this type.
3. There is a neighborhood in which the fazendeiros continue
to live on medium- or large-size fazendas and to use a pool of workers.
Gradually the ties have been lessened as the fazenda was increasingly
turned to commercial production, and the workers have attached them-
selves to a small hamlet which was improved and made attractive by the
fazendeiro's patronage. Sao Tome is a specimen of this type.
The factors which appear to be important in these cases are
the size of the fazenda, the residence of the owner (whether he lives
on the farm or elsewhere), the decrease in population of the neighbor-
hood, and the substitution of some form of security for traditional
patron-client ties. A more careful look at the three cases will show
both similarities and differences.
Laranja is a fazenda in the northeast corner of the municipio
of Pompeu in the Alto Sao Francisco region, near the municipios of
Felixllndia and Curvelo. Originally it was one large piece of property;
it has since been sub-divided into three fazendas. One has retained the
original name the others were called Fazenda Laranjinha and Fazenda
Coxo. At one time all three were owned by brothers, but only the
Laranja was still in the family of the original owner. The fazenda
once had high quality land for cultivation, but the building of the
Tres Marias Dam in the 1960s had caused the inundation of large amounts
of good soil. When the water level in the reservoir rose, a third of
the residents of Laranja left the area. The fazendeiro sued the
government for the loss of valuable property; the case was still in
litigation at the time of the author's visit.
The fazendeiro spent most of his time in Pompeu, seat of the
municipio and center of a urban community, in a house more than a
hundred years old, which he inherited from his father-in-law. The
house had been in the family for fifty-four years, out until recently
it was in poor condition. While his wife spent most of her time in
town, the fazendeiro had totally renovated and refurnished the inter-
ior of the house.
The fazendeiro spent three or four days a week on the fazenda;
the rest of the week he stayed in town. One of his agregados (tradi-
tional dependents, sharecroppers) acted as manager in his absence.
The agregado's twelve-year-old daughter lived with the fazendeiro's
wife in Pompeu. She was being reared by the fazendeiro and was attend
ing junior high school (gijnsio). She, like her four predecessors,
was a goddaughter of the wife of the fazendeiro. Her duties were to
help in the kitchen with the cooking and serving ot meals, to fetch
items from the grocery store, and to help with household chores. She
also watched and played with the small grandson of the fazendeiro,
who sejnt most of his time with his grandmother.
The fazenda produced milk, cattle, corn, rice, cotton, and
beans. All of these products, except a portion reserved for household
use, were sent to market in Belo Horizonte. Once, a quantity of char-
coal was produced on the fazenda, but the woods had been destroy.d ani
the production was ending. The fazenda continc; 755 hectares but
originally it held 2,500 hectares before division, sale, and loss of
land t. the reservoir. There were only twenty families remaining on
the fazenda; there had been about sixty families, or three hundred
persons, living there. Most of the workers were vaqueiros who looked
after the becl cattle. The production of milk for market had begun
seven years before, when the cooperative was founded. Before that
time, the only market for milk was a small creamery in Ponpeu. The
fazendeiro owned a tractor, as did some other fazendeiros in Pompeu.
The cooperative also owned some farm machinery that might be used by
its members. The fazenda had a small water-powered generator for
electricity, but this generator was not suitable for running machines.
Two institutions on the fazenda did much to integrate the
workers into a social group: the soccer team and the school. The
school was attended exclusively by members of the families of workers
and of small-holders in the vicinity. The teacher had been sent out
from Pompeu, where she went on weekends. The soccer team played teams
from the vila ot Silva Campos and from other rural settlements.
Religious activities were minimal, since in the neighborhood,
workers liked to ride the milk truck to Silva Campos or to Pompeu to
attend church. The owner of the milk truck, a nephew of the fazendeiro,
lived at Laranja and maae the round trip to the sede daily, picking up
paying passengers as he went. The annual religious festival on the
fazenda, usually in .*lie, had been deteriorating in the last few years,
according to workers. Surce there were fewer persons to bear the cost
ot the festival, the faz-ndeiros have been less inclined to support the
event, and improved Lrar.tportation has made for more ready access to
regular recreattonai iand religiou- activities in town.
See Figure 3 for the delineation of major social areas in the
neighborhood of Laranja.
The fazenda of Sao Bento is a medium-sized farm of 220 hectares
in the southeastern part of the municipio of Sao Joao de Rei in the
region of Camlos da Mantiqueira, near the municipio of Piedade do Rio
Grande. The fazenda is situated in a valley off the municfpio road.
There were two new buildings for animals, an old fazenda house, a
garage, a storage building, and a cheese factory on the property. The
owner had one employee who helped him farm; three others employed by
the cheese factory lived on the land. The building housing the cheese
factory belonged to an entrepreneur from Santos Dumont who bought milk
from the fazendeiro and transported and distributed the cheese. This
fazendeiro managed the cheese factory for the absent proprietor.
The neighborhood of which Sao Bento is a part also includes
Fazenda do Serro, owned by the fazendeiro's brother-in-law, who also
had four families living on his property. A rural school maintained
by the municfpio was located on property of the Fazenda do Serro, be-
tween the seats of the two fazendas. The children of workers and of
fazendeiros went to school together. In addition, some sitiantes,
small-holders, who lived along the road maintained by the municipio
sent their children to the school, a thirty-minute walk for these
children. The fazendeiro, who completed only seven years of schooling,
did not think that elite education was a good way to train farmers.
Therefore, instead of sending his children to town to live with rela-
tives or in a boarding school, he kept them at home and sent them to
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school on the fazenda. The workers felt that the fazendeiros' sending
their children to the school upgraded it, and they were proud of their
They combined area of Fazenda Sao Bento and Fazenda do Serro
once made up only Fazenda Sao Bento. The fazendeiro had purchased Sio
Bento in 1969 from a non-relative so as to be near his brother-in-law.
The homes of the two families were quite close together near a line
dividing the properties. There was constant visiting back and forth,
with the children playing together and the women consulting on family
problems. On weekends they would all go to visit relatives in Piedade
do Rio Grande, where both of the couples were born and reared.
The relations between workers and fazendeiros were strictly
businesslike. Families of the two groups did not socialize, nor had
strong patron-client ties developed. Workers did rely on the fazen-
deiro to transport them to and from the seat of the municfpio from time
to time, for there were no stores, nor even a bar, near the fazenda.
The village of Emboabas and the hamlet of Paraiso were fairly near, but
still more than an hour's walk from the fazenda. Most workers attended
church in Paraiso, although some went to Emboabas, because it was nearer
to their houses. The fazendeiros went to church in Piedade do Rio
Grande, but they did attend festivals, along with the workers, at both
Paraiso and Emboabas. For Holy Week all of the rural residents gener-
ally went to the Piedade do Rio Grande.
The fazendeiro had made substantial investments in mechanizing
his farm. He had a 10-horsepower electric motor, a milk cooler, a
silage cutter, a rice cleaner, a corn sheller, a 3eep-like car, and an
animal-drawn drill, as well as plow and artificial insemination equip-
ment. He had a Holstein bull, forty-seven milk cows, five steer
calves, seventeen heifer calves, and twenty-three heifers and cows be-
tween twelve and twenty-four months of age: a total of ninety-four
head. The herd was then seven-eighths Holstein. He also had two oxen,
three horses, and fifty swine. Only 13 hectares was devoted to crops;
the remainder was in pastures or special grasses for silage. He also
owned a small piece of property in Piedade do Rio Grande, 50 hectares
The delineation of the main social areas in the neighborhood
of Sao Bento is demonstrated in Figure 4.
The territorial delineation of this socially integrated rural
neighborhood includes the Fazenda Sfo Tone, two adjacent fazendas
owned by relatives, and a hamlet containing eight houses, two tiny
store-bars, a two-room municipio school, a chapel, and a health post.
Most of the persons who patronzed these institutions were fazenda
workers and their families.
Fazenda Sao Tomd, largest of the three farms, is located on the
main dirt road between two rural nunicfpio sedes, Sao Domingos do Prata
and Dom Silvdrio. The main house, casa sede, was located right off the
road, on the edge of 272 hectares of land devoted to mixed farming.
Both the cultivated land and the pastures of this property were in good
condition. The fazenda had two hundred head of cattle, including forty-
five producing milk cows, six oxen, thirty heifers that would be kept
to add to the herd, and other calves being fattened for market. The
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wife had charge of between a thousand and four thousand chickens that
she was raising to market through a chicken producer's cooperative in
Vigosa. The fazendeiro owned two types of swine, which were being
raised for market under the care of their son. A number of laying hens
produced eggs for home consumption, and the surplus was sold in Sao
Domingos do Prata. The fazendeiro proudly told the author that he was
the first member of the Sao Domingos do Prata milk cooperative and was
then the second member in quantity of milk produced, between 200 and
300 liters of milk daily. In addition, the fazenda produced beans,
rice, corn, potatoes, tomatoes, cabbage, green beans, peas, red and
yellow carrots, jilO (a fruit), and oranges, all of which were used at
home and marketed in three nearby municipios. The fazendeiro and his
wife lived on the farm with two unmarried adult children, a son and a
daughter; a filha de criacio, aged ten; and a married son and his
family, who resided in a separate house and were allowed a certain por-
tion of the property for use and management. Ten families of colonos,
or agregados, sharecropped on the property and helped care for the
Material culture differs sharply between workers and owners.
The fazendeiros had a diverse range of technology and possessions,
including electric generators for lighting and radios; machines to
process foods (grinding corn, preparing manioc), cooking pots, utensils
and dishes, two kitchens (a large outdoor kitchen for preparing massive
quantities ot food for workers during harvest season and a smaller in-
door kitchen for family use); indoor plumbing, bathrooms; beds with
innersprings, sofas, large but simple tables and benches for feeding a
large family; saints' images and little shrines; a number of sets of
clothing for various occasions; and a varied diet. In contrast, the
workers had a more limited, homemade material culture: a few stools
and benches, a small table, straw mattresses or mats for sleeping; a
couple of pots, a few dishes, wooden spoons (carved by hand); at most
two sets of clothing; a diet of beans, rice, and corn; and no latrines.
The people of the neighborhood centering in Sao Tome shared
institutions of the nucleus in many ways. The children all attended
the municipio primary school located there. The chapel was extremely
active, patronized and financially supported by the fazendeiros. Fre-
quent services were held in the chapel, always on Sunday and sometimes
during the week as well. Four active irmandades (religious brother-
hoods), three for women and one for men, were directed by the fazen-
deiros. These lay brotherhoods take care of the poor by giving aid in
sickness and by helping to pay the expenses of rites of passage such
The school had a parent-teacher association that met regularly
and an active adult education program, which had graduated thirty
adults who thus became eligible as voters. There were two soccer teams
that regularly engaged in matches with other teams in the municipio of
The health post, operated locally, had a volunteer doctor from
Dom Silvdrio; he visited twice a week to attend the poor. The fazen-
deiros were excluded from this service, and they had to go to the sede
of the municipio or to Sao Domingos do Prata for health care.
In addition to insuring the strength of these institutions,
the fazendeiros were bound to pay many of the workers by ties of
godparenthood and by obligations to provide services such as transport
(by truck) to Ute sede once a week and use of a grist mill to grind
their corn. The workers provided the fazendeiros with their labor as
There were many ties of kinship among workers, and these ties
tend to bind the neighborhood together. The fazendeiros reinforced
these ties by helping their godchildren to meet the financial obliga-
tions of getting married: providing a dowry and the refreshments for a
wedding feast. In rural neighborhoods where such aid did not exist,
poor girls often sought jobs as maids in cities far from home in order
to obtain a proper wedding dowry. Often they were thereby encouraged
to lose contact with their former neighborhood and to marry outside it.
With this type of financial aid the fazendeiros attempted to keep the
workers on the fazenda while the attractions of jobs in steel company
towns of the region were very tempting.
The delineation of major social areas in the neighborhood of
Sao Tom6 is shown in Figure 5.
The Nucleated Neighborhood of Small Farms
The second type of rural neighborhood consists of a group of
sitios (small farms) clustered around a small nucleus. This center is
usually composed of a school, a store, ten to fifteen houses, sometimes
a chapel and/or a soccer field. The houses in the nucleus are situated
on garden plots, in essence being small sitios. Botn the scattered
sitios and the garden plots of the nucleus are used for subsistence
production, with surpluses sold in local village or town markets. When
*.o. School ea Cololt Unoccupied house.
SMll Occupied house.
0 -. SccreStionaI area
... Church arra rars
-*.** Trsde are Chapel
SIurl neighborhoodd h
S' Incoplte coraunity center A Store
0 lo~hpltr coounity center 0 Soccr field
@ tural conilnlty center
vlllage or torn| t Mine
@ eurb;n co7Ounity center
(tr) -- DLtrito boundary
-e. uniipcle boundary
Jrbncomrunlty canter .... Sater boundary
SUrban conunity center Paved road
(trade and lcrvlce city -- Iproved unpaved road
] trbon community center
(multi-functlonp l city)
'o Alli-firoi^ -l to T-^ .vi' o ^ y
Figure 5. Major social areas in the neighborhood of
a chapel is found, it often serves several neighborhoods. These neigh-
borhoods are always located near a river or stream, the source of
water for the residents. There are usually medium- or large-scale
fazendas in the vicinity of the neighborhood where residents find
occasional day work. In some regions, employment can be found in non-
agricultural activities such as mining, quarrying, and making charcoal.
The sitios are located along a road that leads to a main high-
way. Transportation out of the neighborhood, for most residents, is by
horse or on foot. Bus service is often found on main highways, or a
passing truck will pick up passengers and take them to the nearest
town. The existence of train or bus stops often gives rise to nucle-
ated neighborhoods, as occurred at Estacro Pompeu, a rural train sta-
tion in the municipio of Pompeu. Most of the farms are from 2 to 25
hectares, a size easily cared for by a man and his immediate family
using muscle power as the primary source of energy. Each house is
situated on the land worked, although residents of the nucleus some-
times have larger parcels of land within close walking distance. The
number of families in this type of neighborhood ranges from fifteen to
The material culture of residents of this type of neighborhood
is not very different from that of fazenda workers. Work tools are
simple and designed for the use of one man: hoes, axes, scythes. Tools
are frequently lent among relatives and close neighbors. Some of the
larger sitios have an ox and a plow. Houses are constructed of brick,
adobe, or wattle and daub, with either thatch or tile roofs. Outbuild-
ings for animals are rare, although owners of livestock often build
corrals with rude stone or wood fences. The interiors of houses are
simply furnished with items made in the neighborhood or local community:
wooden kitchen utensils, simple tables, straw mattresses, and wardrobes,
chairs, benches. Manufactured goods are few and not produced locally:
battery radios, iion pots, glassware, dishes, and metal kitchen uten-
siJs. Kany residents of these neighborhoods said that money earned
through selling crops was usually invested in production tools and
goods, rarely in household items. Apparently, the inventory of ainu-
factured goods acquired by a family is built up over a lifetime of hard
work, and these goods are not capriciously replenished or replaced.
The main institutions which integrate families in a neighbor-
hood usually include kinship, the primary school, the local store or
bar, and the chapel. Kinship ties are extensive within a rural neigh-
borhood, and intermarriage among residents is coeron. Because of the
small size of farms and the rule of equal inheritance of property,
only one male member of a sibling group ordinarily stays in the rural
area. Others seek employment in industrial towns or cities. iKowver,
brothers who remain marry locally and build strong kin ties with con-
sanguineal and affinal relatives within the neighborhood, based on god-
parenthood (reinforcing kin ties), mutual aid, and visiting. Marriages
between cousins are common and are not considered dangerous, although
marriage is expected to be based on ties of romantic love. That these
ties grow between cousins is not surprising, since families have fre-
quent social interaction and even migrants to the cities make freTuent
visits home. Marriage with residents of nearby rural neighorhoAds is
also coason and serves as a link between neighbor!iods. ?any e.-'ers
of the sitiante class claim kinship, even based on illegitimacy, with
prominent families of the municipio, as the author discovered in Boa
Vista in the municipio of Barroso.
The local primary school also serves to integrate the nucleated
neighborhood of small farms. Often the teacher is from a family of the
neighborhood, and her training is limited to a level slightly above
that of her students. In the fazenda neighborhood and in higher-level
locality groups, school teachers are often outsiders or members of the
upper class and have little rapport either with students or parents.
In schools in the neighborhood composed of families on small farms,
the teachers frequently are well-accepted, respected members of the
Unlike the fazenda neighborhood, where undesirable land is
often donated by the fazendeiro for the location of the school; in this
type of neighborhood the school site is selected by residents themselves
and therefore is more conveniently located for most students. In all
rural schools the facilities are simple, with one or two classrooms,
with several grades mixed in the same room. In addition to the regular
primary school, the building houses adult education classes offered in
the evening. According to federal law, school lunch is supposed to
be provided to children attending day classes, and in this type of neigh-
borhood, efforts are made to insure that food is prepared and available.
It is not uncommon for mothers to help with preparation of food,
although it is primarily a responsibility of the teacher. The school
building also functions as a meeting place for parties and secular
celebrations, and sometimes for the saying of mass if no chapel is
Residents feel that the school is an asset to the neighborhood.
They see that it brings them attention from the outside when the
prefeito visits or the school inspector comes. Although parents recog-
nize the importance of primary schooling, secondary schooling is still
considered a luxury because of its non-availability, cost, and unfamili-
ariity. Nonetheless, the author did encounter rare cases of rural
residents, through great personal effort and difficulties, attending
secondary schools in a nearby town.
Leisure time activities, especially of men, are centered around
the neighborhood bar. Regionally known as a "boutiqulm" or "barzinho,"
the bar serves as a meeting place for men, who spend much of their free
time there, drinking, conversing, and exchanging news. A priest inter-
viewed by the author expressed great concern about the prevalence of
alcoholism among rural men, because of its disorganizing effect on
family lives and budgets. He was attempting to organize the men into
some other form of social club to deter them from going to the bar to
make and keep friends.
The bar is a small unpainted building, no more than ten by
twelve feet square; within, a counter runs along one side. There are
no chairs or tables. What little merchandise there is has been pur-
chased in a supermarket or retail store in the nearest town or city.
Usually it consists of two or three bottles of cachafa (a cheap Brazil-
ian sugar-cane liquor); soft drinks, beer; several open packs of
cigarettes, sold individually; a couple of bars of soap, a sausage,
some penny candy, headache remedies; a few miscellaneous items. The
bar is almost always open; the owner resides in an adjoining room. A
battery radio plays popular music or broadcasts professional soccer
games. Notices of secular and religious festivals are posted on the
walls from time to time.
Organized soccer teams are often found in nucleated neighbor-
hoods of small farms. The soccer field is usually located near the
school or the bar. On Sundays the teams play against teams from other
rural neighborhoods. In the municipio of Sao Jozo del Pei the rural
neighborhood of Caquende has an organized soccer team and a cheering
squad that travels with the team to nearby localities: the neighbor-
hoods of Engenho de Serra Jaguara and a place on the other side of the
reservoir, which is reached by ferry. During the June festivals the
typical celebration includes a soccer game with a team from another
Religious homogeneity is an important integrating feature of
the nucleated neighborhood of small farms. All residents are Roman
Catholics; the profession of Protestantism is unknown among small-
holders in rural areas. However, not all nucleated rural neighborhoods
have chapels. In two of the neighborhoods without chapels of their own
the residents attended open country chapels in adjacent neighborhoods.
Residents of Boa Vista went to Bananal, and residents of Caetes, to
Sao Joao Batista. Even neighborhoods with chapels are not guaranteed
frequent celebration of the Sacraments, primarily because of the general
lack of priests in Brazil.4 A single priest may be responsible for as
many as thirty rural chapels, he may be in charge of several parishes.
Consequently, the greater part of the maintenance of religious tradi-
tion in rural areas becomes the responsibility of local lay people.
The most religious members in the neighborhood often led prayer serv-
ices on a regular basis. Some were charged with the maintenance and
cleanliness of the chapel and the casa paroquial (parish house), if one
existed. Others administered donations for community welfare, especially
for aid in time of sickness. On those Sundays when the priest did not
come, nuns sometimes visited rural neighborhoods to give catechism
The success of a local religious festival, dedicated to the
patron saint of the chapel, depends upon the cooperation of all resi-
dents. Most families contributed homemade foods and coffee to be sold
at the festival. Residents who had the larger cash incomes, such as
the school teacher or the proprietor of the bar, usually defrayed the
costs of fireworks and other incidentals, including the fee for saying
mass. It is still common for rural neighborhoods lacking chapels, or
where chapels have been closed, to have religious festivals dedicated
to the patron saint of their place name.
Some, but not all, religious sacraments are performed in the
rural neighborhood. Baptisms may take place anytime the priest visits
the chapel, but in cases of imminent death, any layman can administer
baptism. First communions are rare and generally take place when the
bishop comes to the area. Although they are usually held in the sede
of the municipio, they are sometimes held in rural chapels. In Brazil,
marriage has two separate ceremonies, religious and secular. Since
the secular ceremony must be performed in place that has a cart6rio
(registrar's office), usually in the sede of a municfpio, rural couples
who decide to be married legally, often have both ceremonies performed
Regular visitors to rural neighborhoods are mostly kinfolk,
priests, and nuns. Representatives of local government make occasional
visits, especially just prior to election time. In addition, municf-
pios with social service programs sometimes send representatives to
help create rural neighborhood organizations. These social service
workers operate under the auspices of either the church or the local
government. Agents from the state extension service, ACAR, make infre-
quent visits, especially when invited by local farmers. Radio programs
directed to rural residents broadcast information, news, and announce-
ments of interest to the small farmer: one of the most important daily
contacts a neighborhood has with the larger community.
These generalizations are supported by looking at two specific
case studies: one of Caetes, in the municipio of Barroso, in the region
of Campos da Mantiqueira, and the other of Pintos, in the municipio of
Sao Domingos do Prata, in the region of Siderugica.
Caetls is one of four nucleated rural neighborhoods in the com-
munity of Barroso; it is located in the northeast corner of the municipio.
The main road connecting the town of Barroso to its northern neighbor,
Dores de Campos, forks near a stream that also serves as an administra-
tive boundary. The right fork in the road leads to Caet4s and is its
only direct and well-maintained access to the town of Barroso. The
neighborhood, a line-type settlement, is situated along this road and
the Corrego Bom Jardim, a small creek that parallels it. There were
fourteen houses in the neighborhood, some clustered around the primary
school, others around the small store. Two large cattle fazendas