Territory, economy, and regional development

Research projects:

Urban-industrial Geography of São Paulo and its national and international insertion

Description: From data of previous research we can say that the old idea of southern Brazil as a periphery comparable with the northeast (F. Oliveira) is not sustained, and that southern Brazil is part of the industrial centre along with the southeast, in particular São Paulo, as M. Santos (Brasil, território e sociedade no início do século XXI) has lately claimed. The south not only has a strong industrial dynamism, with the presence of local capital (WEG, Randon etc.), but also dominates several sectors at national level, with a strong international presence. The same is valid for urban sectors of trade and services.

Professor in charge: Armen Mamigonian (armen@usp.br)


The agrarian issue in Brazil

Description: Studies on Brazilian agriculture, social movements, and agrarian reform in Brazil.

Professor in charge: Ariovaldo Umbelino de Oliveira (arioliv@usp.br)


Peasant farming x agribusiness

Description: To understand the specificity of capitalism development in Brazil and the formation of the Brazilian peasantry; to understand the role of the peasantry as a social class in the capitalist mode of production; to understand the territorial transformations carried out by agribusiness in Brazil.

Professor in charge: Larissa Mies Bombardi (larissab@usp.br)


Argentina and Brazil: opportunities and obstacles in the process of territorial integration

Description: This project aims to study the ways, strategies, and difficulties that the territorial integration process between Argentina and Brazil has presented over the last twenty years. Its specific objective consists in the discussion of the following aspects: a) the processes of territorial (re)configuration in the countryside and in the cities; b) policies of governments and companies that help to increase the selective character of these processes in the territory; and c) areas privileged by economic investments and territorial developments of this strategy. It is interesting, also, to identify and analyse those agents and institutions with active participation in the reformulation of these processes, aimed at minimizing regional disparities.

Professor in charge: Maria Monica Arroyo (mmarroyo@usp.br)


Atlas of agrarian reform in Brazil

Description: This project aims to develop the atlas of agrarian reform in Brazil, product and result of surveys conducted in the past six years about land ownership in Brazil, its distribution and basis. The centre of the project is the debate on the origin and the main features of the constitution of land ownership, for the modern capitalist development in Brazil is unevenly and contradictory done and has at its root the rentier quality. This is related to the fact that this rentier quality of the capitalism that was established in the country necessarily continues to choose, among its major contradictions, the forms of private land ownership. This means that in Brazil the concentration of private land ownership works as a process of wealth concentration and, therefore, a capital concentration. Brazilian agrarian elites consolidated in their social imaginary that openness and occupation of vast extensions of, mistakenly called, possessions, always consisted in legitimately obtaining the dominion over these lands illegally occupied. With independence and the imperial period, the legislation of allotments ceased to focus on Brazilian lands, and a type of legal gap occurred until 1850, though there were major legislations that, in a way, worked as reference for the Empire. Law no. 601 of 9/18/1850, known as Land Law, is the legal landmark for the formation of capitalist land ownership in Brazil and, obviously, of the transformation of land into commodities that, from it, can only be obtained by buying and selling. This law legalised the allotments titles and possessions, whatever their extensions, since measured and taken to title and possession record. The title of the land became, by higher law, the effective possession, thus receiving the title those who effectively have the land.

Professor in charge: Ariovaldo Umbelino de Oliveira (arioliv@usp.br)


Peasantry and working class, modernisation, social movements, and peasant territorialisation

Description: This research corresponds to the continuation of the research started in 2004 and aims to contribute to the understanding of how the process of modernisation and urbanisation of society has affected peasantry social reproduction, spatialisation, and territorialisation from the analysis of their social reproduction strategies found in different regions of Brazil. Little is known about how peasantry is characterised today in Brazil, inserted in rural areas profoundly transformed by processes of urbanisation  of the society and industrialisation of agriculture. There is a ‘new’ peasant, whose great adaptability to changes merges to active forms of tradition reinvention. To understand who these ‘new’ peasants are, we have to know the several ways in which they appear in space, placing his path in the broader context of reproduction of the working class in their internal differentiations.

Professor in charge: Marta Inez Medeiros Marques (mimmar@usp.br)


Building utopias: collective and community production and other forms of alternative organisation to the peasant production

Description: To study practices of collective and community production and other forms of cooperation in grasslands as well as other alternative practices of peasant production, to provide support for a discussion on new ways to peasant production in Brazil, especially for those held in rural settlements of agrarian reform.

Professor in charge: Valeria de Marcos (demarcos.vale@usp.br)


Geography and gender

Description: The technological modernity in sugar cane farming has changed the face of Brazil. The beginning of the new century marks a new stage of agricultural, biotechnological, industrial, logistical, and managerial development, followed by its expansion, concentration, and internationalisation process. In this restructuring, men and women are gradually discarded and the replacement occurs by highly sophisticated machines. At the same time, we are witnessing other forms of organisation of work and activities related to household production and landless settlements.

Professor in charge: Rosa Ester Rossini (rrossini@usp.br)


Brazil’s Rural Areas: social movements, violence, and agrarian reform

Description: This research project is the continuation of the research project submitted to CNPq, in 2003, under the number 309,364/2003-5. It deals with the evaluation of the Brazilian agrarian reality in the period between 2003 and 2010, concerning Luis Inácio Lula da Silva government. It increases studies concerning new social movements fighting for land, and evaluates the continuity of the conflicts in rural areas in Lula’s government. It should be emphasised that, in the 21st century, social movements continue their struggle for the conquest of agrarian reform in Brazil. Elites which control lands respond with barbarism. Thus, the country is continuing in the record of growing statistics about the conflicts and violence in grasslands. The fight without pause and borders that grassland peasants and workers take part in for a spot of ground and against the various forms of exploitation of their work increases everywhere, multiplying as a civilian guerrilla without recognition. This cruel reality is the face of barbarism that modernity generated in Brazil. Here, modernity produces metropolises, which manufactures and makes global the national economy, internationalizing the national bourgeoisie, establishing its place in the world economy, but also continues producing the exclusion of the poor in the city and in rural areas. This exclusion leads to misery an expressive part of peasants and workers.

Professor in charge: Ariovaldo Umbelino de Oliveira (arioliv@usp.br)


International trade in the redefinition of the uses of the Brazilian territory: territorial fragmentation and vulnerability

Description: The project has as its main focus the relationship between national and foreign market territory from the dynamics of capital flows, in particular, flows of commodities. The aim is to understand the action of economic groups that, when commanding spatial production circuits linked to international trade, strongly influence the regulation of the national territory.

Professor in charge: Maria Monica Arroyo (mmarroyo@usp.br)


The current geographical environment of Rio Grande do Norte: new materialities, new dynamics

Description: It is a project of the Coordination of Higher Education and Graduate Training (CAPES). The project has the concern to understand the recent transformations in Rio Grande do Norte and the participation of new actors. This portion of the national space has been through a slow economic growth, which for decades has characterised the economic environment of territorial areas of northeast (GTDN, 1967) and Rio Grande do Norte, in particular, the strong dynamism in various economic activities, even if uneven and selectively compared with other areas of the country. Considering the recent expansion of graduate programs in Geography in the northeast region and the trend of consolidation of older programs, the exchange or the formal cooperation between the Graduate Programs in Geography of UFRN (Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte), USP (University of São Paulo), and UNICAMP (State University of Campinas) involved in this proposal will empower research groups, increase the capacity of training new professors-researchers, and improve the quality of research infrastructure of the unconsolidated graduate program itself. In addition, it will greatly contribute in such a way that the teams involved may face empirical situations of other Brazilian regions.

Professor in charge: Maria Monica Arroyo (mmarroyo@usp.br)


Geographical, demographic, and socio-economic determinants of sustainability in Brazilian Amazon (DURAMAZ)

Description: Specific studies carried out in the region of Parauapebas (PA) involving cooperative production of fruit pulp and association of producers established within APA (Brazilian Environmental Protection Agency).

Professor in charge: Neli Aparecida de Mello (namello@usp.br)


Reorganisation of the Brazilian territory: dynamics of production and circulation of information (1970-2010)

Description: We propose, with this research project, to investigate the uses and reorganisation of the Brazilian territory resulting from the action of large companies producing information. We intend to identify formation and topology, to recognise and discuss the configuration of informational densities in places, as well as to analyse and discuss cooperation circles that conform in the country and the implications for anew urbanisation  and regionalisation.

Professor in charge: Fabio Betioli Contel (fbcontel@usp.br)


Territory and health. The use of the territory of the metropolitan region of Campinas by SUS

Description: To study the use of the territory by the Brazilian Unified Health System (SUS) to verify if the program fulfils its legal purposes, especially the decentralisation and universalisation in healthcare, examining to what extent the territory used is a criterion for the development of its functioning.

Professor in charge: Maria Adelia Aparecida de Souza (madelia@territorial.org.br)


Social and territorial transformations of large metropolitan areas: Buenos Aires, São Paulo, and Santiago

Description: Whether in Buenos Aires, São Paulo, or Santiago there has been a sharp territorial extension of the urban tract, marked by policentralisation and peri-urbanisation, which indicates that it conforms to a new territorial design quite different from that produced in the previous period marked by substitute industrialisation of imports that were in force since the 1930s. The current changes, although common to these cities, assumes several meanings in each one of them: renewal and recovery of areas, real estate operations, invasion of agricultural use, leisure, and industrial use areas as well as occupation of areas for those seeking a spot of ground to continue living in the city. The overview, thus reconfigured, shows a metropolitan area that no longer contains itself within its administrative boundaries and that, by being fragmented, constructs a landscape that looks more like an archipelago of urbanisation s, a city extremely scattered or diffuse. The intention is to contribute to the theoretical construction regarding the critical understanding of Latin American cities by analysis of fundamental and determinant processes that have impacted the social production of space of the metropolitan areas of Buenos Aires, São Paulo, and Santiago. Thus, the objective of this research is to analyse the socio-territorial processes that have significant manifestations in recent transformation of these metropolises, identifying the processes of territorial fragmentation and social segregation. Specifically, we seek to understand the constraints and local processes in relation to global constraints, aiming at assessing the degree of autonomy or dependence on metropolitan transformation in relation to hegemonic processes. Particularly, we aim to identify the emergence of new areas of centrality and their role in the emergence of centres of retail trade and large trade centres. As well as to characterise these metropolises in their relocations.

Professor in charge: Sandra Lencioni (slencion@usp.br)