For Social Peace in Brazil

Industrialists and the Remaking of the Working Class in São Paulo, 1920-1964

By Barbara Weinstein

456 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 19 halftones, 4 tables, appends., notes, bibl., index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8078-4602-5
    Published: January 1997
  • E-book EPUB ISBN: 978-0-8078-6624-5
    Published: November 2000
  • E-book PDF ISBN: 979-8-8908-6728-5
    Published: November 2000

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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, São 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.

About 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.
For more information about Barbara Weinstein, visit the Author Page.


"The strength and originality of For Social Peace in Brazil lies in Weinstein's ability to illuminate the interactions among different classes . . . while narrating the development of institutions intended to implement specific policies based on the ideologies of welfare capitalism and the promotion of social peace among 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. . . . Offers a rigorous, eloquent, and original account of the flawed attempts by Sao Paulo capitalists to reshape the nature of industrial work and foster ‘social peace’ in Brazil.”--Technology and Culture

"An important [and innovative] contribution to the social and economic history of Latin America. Weinstein innovatively blends discourse analysis with more traditional approaches to paint a strikingly new portrait of Brazilian industrialists, labor relations, and social politics, one with broad implications for our understanding of the politics of modernity in the country of the future."--Peter Winn, Tufts University

"Its brilliant analysis of labor relations in twentieth-century Brazil will make this book an essential and indispensable source for anyone who wishes to explore this terrain. Weinstein combines exhaustive and careful research with a stimulating critique of the existing bibliography on this theme."--Maria Lígia Prado, University of São Paulo