For Social Peace in Brazil: Industrialists and the Remaking of the Working Class in São Paulo, 1920-1964 / Edition 1

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This book is the first major study of industrialists and social policy in Latin America. Barbara Weinstein examines the vast array of programs sponsored by a new generation of Brazilian industrialists who sought to impose on the nation their vision of a rational, hierarchical, and efficient society. She explores in detail two national agencies founded in the 1940s (SENAI and SESI) that placed vocational training and social welfare programs directly in the hands of industrialist associations. Assessing the industrialists' motives, Weinstein also discusses how both men and women in Brazil's working class received the agencies' activities. Inspired by the concepts of scientific management, rational organization, and applied psychology, Sao Paulo's industrialists initiated wide-ranging programs to raise the standard of living, increase productivity, and at the same time secure lasting social peace. According to Weinstein, workers initially embraced many of their efforts but were nonetheless suspicious of employers' motives and questioned their commitment to progressivism. By the 1950s, industrial leaders' notion of the working class as morally defective and their insistence on stemming civil unrest at all costs increasingly diverged from populist politics and led to the industrialists' active support of the 1964 military coup.

"Outstanding history of Säao Paulo industrialists' attempt to modernize industry by remaking the working class. Based on a wide range of documents, the work focuses on vocational training programs sponsored by the state-chartered, but industry-run, Serviðco Nacional de Aprendizagem Industrial and on the industrial social services institute, Serviðco Social da Indâustria, from 1940s-1960s. Argues that workers and industrialists converged on rationalizing project of improving workers' skills, but diverged on politics where workers followed populists and industrialists conspired for more managerial, authoritarian government. Essential contribution to history of relationships between labor, elites, and state, revising arguments such as Cardoso's that Brazilian bourgeoisie lacked a 'project.'"--Handbook of Latin American Studies, v. 58.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
[The strength of] For Social Peace in Brazil lies in Weinstein's ability to illuminate the interactions among different classes.

Latin American Research Review

A very readable study, based on meticulous archival work.

European Review of Latin American and Caribbean Studies

A major contribution to the growing historical literature on industrial labor in Brazil.

Technology and Culture

An important [and innovative] contribution to the social and economic history of Latin America.

Peter Winn, Tufts University

Weinstein combines exhaustive and careful research with a stimulating critique of the existing bibliography on this theme.

Maria Lígia Prado, University of Sao Paulo

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807846025
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
  • Publication date: 1/20/1997
  • Edition description: 1
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 456
  • Product dimensions: 6.01 (w) x 9.23 (h) x 1.09 (d)

Meet the Author

Barbara Weinstein, associate professor of history at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, is author of The Amazon Rubber Boom, 1850-1920.

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Table of Contents


1 Rationalization and Industry in the 1920s
2 Rational Organization and Social Reform
3 Industrialists in the Nation's Service
4 Inventing SENAI and SESI
5 Employers and Workers Respond
6 Remaking the Worker at Home and at Play
7 Remaking the Worker at Work
8 The Politics of Social Peace
Epilogue and Conclusion


The spinning workshop in the textiles section of the SENAI school in Ipiranga, 1948
Medical examination for an applicant to a SENAI course, "test of strength," 1943
Physical education classes for boys and girls at the SENAI school in Brás, 1946
Students in the SENAI course for industrial psychologists visit a textile factory, 1945
Engineering students in the course for lathe operators at SENAI's Escola Roberto Simonsen, 1950
Graduation ceremony for SENAI-São Paulo students, 1947
Inauguration of the Escola Roberto Simonsen, SENAI-São Paulo, 1949
SENAI course for glassmakers in the Nadir Figueiredo glass factory, 1951
Funeral procession for Morvan Dias de Figueiredo, 1950, in front of SENAI's Escola Roberto Simonsen
Members of the metallurgical workers' union visiting a metalworking section of SENAI's Escola Roberto Simonsen, 1951
Members of the textile workers' and textile supervisors' unions visiting a textile workshop in the SENAI school in Ipiranga, 1950
Oath being administered to "worker-athletes" at the opening of the fifth Workers' Olympics, May Day, 1951
Members of the construction workers' union listening to a lecture about SENAI courses in the union headquarters, 1950
Families of SENAI apprentices visiting a workshop for mechanics at the Escola Roberto Simonsen, 1950
Home economics class in sewing for female apprentices at the SENAI school in Campinas, 1946
Apprentices at the SENAI school in Br s during a period of recreation, 1947
The delegation of SENAI apprentices in the parade for the fifth Workers' Olympics, May Day, 1951
The SENAI "jeep" in the SESI-sponsored parade to inaugurate the fourth Workers' Olympics, May Day, 1950
Lunch for officials of the Second Army Division at the SENAI restaurant in the Escola Roberto Simonsen, 1949

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