Paulo Fontes is Associate Professor, School of Social Sciences (CPDOC) Fundação Getulio Vargas – Rio de Janeiro; a researcher at the Brazilian Council of Research and Development (CNPq); and the coeditor of
Barbara Weinstein is Silver Professor of History at New York University and the author of
Worker Community and Everyday Life: “Becoming Northeastern” in São Paulo
In this chapter, the workers’ own actions toward the structuring of their urban setting is a point of analysis, as is the process of class formation beyond the factory space. Aspects of leisure and workers’ culture are discussed, noting both elements of homogeneity and traces of heterogeneity within the workers’ community, seeking in this way to demonstrate the complexity of the workers’ set of experiences. This chapter also aims to investigate processes of building relationships of solidarity, as well as those of antagonism, among local residents. Differences of ethnicity, generation, gender, and levels of social aspiration are highlighted and analyzed. The infrastructure needs of the neighborhood and their relation to the migrants’ expectations of “progress” are treated as important issues in creating a strong sense of community. Finally, the chapter seeks to explain how the formation of a Northeastern identity among migrant workers overlapped with ideals of work and worker.