Hi there, I'm an Anthropology student from Brazil and I am beginning this year my master degree on Bolivian migration to São Paulo, Brazil. The research is only beginning to develop now, and I should only begin my first fieldworks by mid-July. However (or therefore), if anyone here has already studied anything on the subject (not only about Bolivian migration, but migration within South America in general), or even if anyone here is interested in discussing the subject, it could be very interesting for me.


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Hi Rafael,

I from Germany and I am right now in Quito researching about the Ecuadorian international migration. Like you I am only at the beginning of my fieldwork, and I am trying to figure out my exact questions. And you? What are you trying to find out?

Hi Mirja!

Well, as you can see, my post was written about more than a year ago. So right now, I'm no longer at the beginning of my fieldwork as much as I am finishing it. Ok, a year in anthropology is not usually much but, in the case of Master degree researches, when you have only two years for going from scratch to a monography, you gotta be quick =)

Anyway, so this is how it's going so far: the case of Bolivian immigration to São Paulo is a bit specific. Most of the recent immigrants go to work under illegal working conditions on small sewing factories, mostly working and living in the same place, been paid very little, and working about 14 to 16 hours a day. It's quite bad, but there is also a clear contrast in the way Brazilian society judges this kind of work, and the way the Bolivian immigrants themselves end up judging it - not so negatively. And I should probably explore this contrast, which seems to go beyond simple questions of "fear", "subjugation", or "alienation".

Also, it's curious that they don't seem to have developed any sort of Bolivian neighbourhood pattern, as one would expect, even with about 15 year of a strong flux of immigration. That's mostly due to the sewing factories system. What I have found is that, more than a neighbourhood in space, they constitute what I've been meaning to call "time neighbourhoods", that is, they get together every Sunday in Kantuta Square for the local Bolivian weekly fair, and every Saturday, for the Coimbra Street fair, in a concentration of Bolivian society clearly related with the time of their works. There are no Bolivian social events from Monday morning to saturday afternoon, for instance.

Finally, as my third central point, is the question of the Coimbra Street fair existing as a rupture with Kantuta fair, which is much more organized around municipal regulations - while the Coimbra one seems to exist as a escaping space for those excluded, for economical, political or cultural reasons, of the process of constitution of the Kantuta fair.

Well, that's about it for now, in a very short way of puting it. Mostly, from now and for the next six months, I'll be reviewing my material and writing, so new ideas may still come up.

Anyway, anyone doing research in this area is always a great contact, Mirja, and I would really appreciate with we could keep in touch. How's your fieldwork going so far? Are you learning local languages, as Spanish and Quechua? That can be quite important! ;-)

Mucho gusto!

Hi Rafael. I'm brazilian too, but I will write in english, this way other friends could participate. I study migration too, but migration of brasilians of the rural area to Italy and US and their return to Brazil. Nearly your job, I have a friend, Bruna Louzada Bumachar, that studies foreing prisioners in Brazil.



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