Group Title: metropolitan community of Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerias, Brazil
Title: The metropolitan community of Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerias, Brazil
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Title: The metropolitan community of Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerias, Brazil an ecological analysis of locality group integration
Physical Description: ix, 267 leaves : maps ; 28cm.
Language: English
Creator: Doria, Robert Anthony, 1932-
Publication Date: 1975
Copyright Date: 1975
Subject: Social conditions -- Belo Horizonte, Brazil   ( lcsh )
Sociology thesis Ph. D   ( lcsh )
Dissertations, Academic -- Sociology -- UF   ( lcsh )
Genre: bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Thesis: Thesis--University of Florida.
Bibliography: Bibliography: leaves 262-266.
General Note: Typescript.
General Note: Vita.
Statement of Responsibility: by Robert A. Doria.
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Bibliographic ID: UF00098928
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: alephbibnum - 000168736
oclc - 02884724
notis - AAT5136


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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



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


1 Introduction .................. 2
Notes . . . . . . . . . .12

2 Review of Literature .. . .. . . . . .13
Notes . . . . . . . . . 32


3 Evolution of the Metropolitan Community System
of Belo Horizonte ...... ... .. 37
Notes ................. ... 51


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


10 Summary and Conclusions ......... . 247


Bibliography . . . . . . . ... 262
Biographical Sketch . . . . . . . 267

List of Figures

Figure Page

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
Batista 110

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



Robert A. Doria

December, 1975

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.




Chapter 3

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
on municipios.

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-
politan area.

Institute de Geo-Ciencias Aplicadas (Institute of
Applied Geo-Sciences)
for maps of individual municlpios.

Conselho Estadual do Desenvolvimento (State Develop-
ment Council)
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
Commission) .

(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,
transportation departments,
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,
priests, ministers,
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,
sports events,
club meetings
meetings of parent-teacher associations,
functions at social clubs,
public observances on religious and secular holidays,
private parties,

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

locality groups.

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

case studies.

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

community system.


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),
Ch. 8.

Chapter 2
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

community system.

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

locality group.

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

urban sociology.

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

discussed below.

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

metropolitan community.

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
of labor.42

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-
unity. "

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
Press, 1952).

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),
p. 49-50.
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-
onais, 1963).

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),
p. 261.

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.



Chapter 3

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.

," oo@0
: .. 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

region studied.

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

Farm family

Rural neighborhood Fazenda-type

Incomplete community Hamlet-type

Rural community

Rurban community

Urban community Factory-city-centered

Metropolitan community

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-



Chapter 4

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

case studies.

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

community center.

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

Figure 2).

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

later chapter.




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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

of livestock.

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.

Sao Bento

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

he inherited.

The delineation of the main social areas in the neighborhood

of Sao Bento is demonstrated in Figure 4.

sio Tood

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

as weddings.

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

Dom Silvdrio.

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
SL Church
SIurl neighborhoodd h

S' Incoplte coraunity center A Store
0 lo~hpltr coounity center 0 Soccr field
4, Hoplt.1
@ tural conilnlty center
vlllage or torn| t Mine
@ eurb;n co7Ounity center
(tr) -- DLtrito boundary
-e. uniipcle boundary
Jrbncomrunlty canter .... Sater boundary
(fctlory city)

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
Sao Tome


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

in town.

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

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