Cover

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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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Contents

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List of Illustrations

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p. viii

List of Tables

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pp. ix-x

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xi-xvi

This book was conceived and written under the guidance of many people, and it would not have come into being without their support and perspective. Marianne Schmink, the chair of my dissertation committee, has been a source of inspiration and wisdom. In...

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1. The Journey to Acre

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pp. 1-20

Brazilians have colorful ways of describing the Amazonian state of Acre (fig. 1.1). Situated on the border with Peru and Bolivia in the far western corner of Brazil, Acre is so “out there” in the national imagination that it is referred to as the place “where the wind turns...

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2. The Expansion of Cattle Raising in Acre

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pp. 21-36

Prior to 1975, less than 1 percent of the Amazon region had been deforested (Moran 1993). This number has grown to 14.5 percent in recent years. The vast majority of the nearly seventy-five million hectares of deforested lands now serve as cattle pastures (IBGE...

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3. Ruminations on Cattle Economies and Cattle Cultures

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pp. 37-53

Jatobá, Luanna, and Espimar Rocha live amid the forests of São Cristovão seringal in the Chico Mendes Extractive Reserve. When I met them in 2007 they had no cattle, but the next year I visited they had a white bull. Over time I witnessed the growth of their...

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4. Ideologies of Nature and Human–Environment Interactions

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pp. 54-71

Two houses on Avenida Epaminondas in Rio Branco are separated by another. One belongs to Sorocaba, a dedicated urban cauboi who embodies many of the fundamental features of cattle culture. His truck can often be seen parked on the sidewalk in front of the padlocked...

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5. The Ranchers: Smooth Hands, Progress, and Production

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pp. 72-90

In the entryway of the Library of the Forest in Rio Branco, there is a dramatic wall display entitled “O Acre Como um Pasto de Boi” (Acre as a cattle pasture). It chronicles social conflict and environmental destruction along the Acrean frontier in the 1970s and 1980s...

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6. The City and the Contri

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pp. 91-110

On most Sundays, and other days and times that follow no discernible pattern, my neighbor cranks up his sertaneja music.¹ One minute, stadium-filling sertaneja duos strum their guitars and harmonize about falling in love, looking for love, losing love, and bull riding. The next minute...

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7. Here’s the Beef: Symbol, Sustenance, and Hamburger Connections

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pp. 111-127

It was midmorning on a Saturday in June in western Amazonia, and the mist had long since burned off the forest, the chickens had become sluggish, and the million little sounds of the rainforest morning had died down.¹ Jatobá, Luanna, their son, Espimar, and I closed up the house and headed out for the churrasco, or...

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8. Rubber-Tapper and Colonist Transitions: Environment, Practice, and Identity

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pp. 128-147

Political and economic factors have combined with social and cultural changes to encourage cattle raising in Acre. Does being a rubber tapper—a “forest guardian”—have some bearing on one’s decision to raise cattle? And as for the colonists, so integrally entwined...

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9. The Appropriation of Cattle Culture: Perceptions, Behaviors, and Methodological Considerations

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pp. 148-161

After a year of fieldwork I understood how the various pieces of cattle culture fit together into an overarching system of thought and action. What I wanted to know next was the extent to which aspects of cattle culture had been appropriated throughout Acrean society...

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10. The Full Picture

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pp. 162-168

Cattle are visible over the course of human history, “from the first archeological records, dating back to the Lascaux caves, to the assassination of Chico Mendez [sic] in the Amazon rainforests” (Rifkin 1992:3). The cow is the subject of political and economic...

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Appendix A: Social Groups and Research Area

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pp. 169-170

I conducted field research in southern Acre, Brazil. Some ranches were located in Baixo Acre, lower Acre, which includes the capital city of Rio Branco, where I often met with key informants. These regions are named according to their location around the Acre River, which flows east from the city of Assis Brasil, on the...

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Appendix B: Methods and Data

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pp. 171-174

I collected data over four separate seasons, from 2007 through 2010, during a total of eighteen months of fi eldwork. In this appendix I will describe the primary methods I employed to collect data, the data collected, how data were analyzed, and how I have used the data to support my observations and conclusions...

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Appendix C: Levels of Agreement among Social Groups

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pp. 175-180

I here offer an illustration to aid in the interpretation of the results and clarify key concepts. In table C.1, I have included three statements showing distinct levels of agreement among members of each group and, in the far right column, the overall agreement across all respondents on the statement. Ideally there would be twenty...

Works Cited

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pp. 181-192

Index

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pp. 193-196