Abstract

From the middle of 1900's to the end of the 1920's, several associations dedicated to dance activities appeared every year in Rio de Janeiro, the Brazilian federal capital. This widespread movement demonstrates the passion for that kind of association among the residents of the city. Despite the strong influence of those recreational associations on working class neighborhoods of Rio de Janeiro and the political meanings of such clubs, scholars have very seldom investigated them. Most analyses neglected such practices, focusing mostly on the supposedly more relevant experience of workers in unions—even though the dance clubs attracted to their activities a large number of workers from the neighborhoods in which they were formed. Such logic ended up defining a model of working-class history in Brazil that has often assumed the discourse of union leaders as the very expression of the working class as a whole. In order to understand the limits of such analyses, it's important to pay attention to the cultural backgrounds of workers that were not necessarily engaged on unionist activities. Distant from the unions and parties, they organized themselves in associations that may convey a different image of the local working class, which takes into account issues like ethnicity and social condition. Therefore, it's important to look closer to the activities carried out on working class neighborhoods as Bangu by the members of associations like the Flor da União (Flower of the Union)—a Carnival and Dance Society in which important forms of identities and differences were forges among Brazilian workers of the period.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-1897
Print ISSN
0022-4529
Pages
pp. 154-169
Launched on MUSE
2012-09-13
Open Access
No
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