An analysis of the regional impacts of land reform in Brazil
Estudos Sociedade e Agricultura
This article aims to portray short, medium and long-term change processes brought about by the establishment of rural settlements in Brazil. The goal was to apprehend the transformations in the lives of the settlers, in the settlements and in the regions where these are located. The article is based on a study that carried out in some of the Brazilian regions that had the greatest concentration of settlement projects and number of families of settlers per unit of territory (termed zones). The
... ermed zones). The basic premise was that this concentration stemmed from struggles, and that the proximity of several projects has served to multiply their effects. Key words: land reform, rural settlements, struggle for the land. In broad terms, the impacts of the settlements must discussed with regard to multiple relationships, in which different avenues lead to different results. Thus, hasty generalisations should not be made. Rather than identifying impacts, it is necessary to analyse the economic, political and social effects of the transformation processes triggered by the creation of the settlements. The pace and intensity of these processes vary, and have a bearing not only on the families of the settlers but on the rest of the local population as well. Methodological aspects and characterisation of the sample The focus of this study was a given set of Brazilian regions with a large concentration of settlement projects and a great density of settled families per land unit, based on the assumption that this would increase the chances of understanding the change processes underway. These regions were given the label zones, and their geographic location does not necessarily coincide with other existing regional sections -as defined by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE), by the state governments, by the National Land Colonisation and Land Reform Institute (Incra) or by social movements. The defining criteria was the existence of a set of neighbouring municipalities with a relatively large concentration of settlements, in terms of number of projects, families, and occupied areas, considering the historical, economic, social and organisational dynamics they have in common. Six large zones were chosen, reflecting the diversity of Brazilian realities: the Federal District and surrounding areas, the North-eastern Sugar Cane Region, the Sertão (semiarid region) of the State of Ceará, Southern Bahia State, South-eastern Pará State and Western Santa Catarina State. 2 Sample zones were chosen, within each one of these greater zones, which contained groups of municipalities that had the largest concentrations of projects and the greatest proportion of settlers as compared to the overall rural and urban populations. 3 Questionnaires were applied to carry out a detailed analysis.