"Civilizing" Rio

"Civilizing" Rio : Reform and Resistance in a Brazilian City, 1889-1930

3.76 (17 ratings by Goodreads)
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A massive urban renewal and public-health campaign in the first decades of the nineteenth century transformed Brazil's capital into a showcase of European architecture and public works. The renovation of Rio, or "civilization" campaign, as the government called it, widened streets, modernized the port, and improved sanitation, lighting, and public transportation. These changes made life worse, not better, for the majority of the city's residents, however; the laboring poor could no longer afford to live in the downtown, and the public-health plan did not extend to the peripheral areas where they were being forced to move. Their resistance is the focus of Teresa Meade's study.

Meade details how Rio grew according to the requirements of international capital, which financed, planned, and oversaw the renewal-and how local movements resisted these powerful, distant forces. She also traces the popular rebellion that continued for more than twenty years after the renovation ended in 1909, illustrating that community protests are the major characteristic of political life in the modern era.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 224 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 16mm | 367g
  • Pennsylvania, United States
  • English
  • 027102870X
  • 9780271028705

Table of contents


List of Illustrations


1 Reconsidering Victor Baltard

2 Classicism and the Architect's Education

3 Representing Paris

4 Decorated Construction

5 An Urban History of the Central Markets

6 Housing the City

Epilogue on Function and Typology in Baltard's Urban Architecture

Appendix: Career Chronology of Victor Baltard



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Review quote

"['Civilizing' Rio] is part of the new social history that emphasizes crowds, popular resistance, and neighborhoods in the context of social classes. The study supplies concrete historical data to test world systems theories of how popular movements were affected by the effect of world economic change and contributes an original argument in the areas of urban and labor history. There is much comparative discussion placing the study in the international context of other third world areas such as Africa, Argentina, Mexico, as well as Western Europe."-Timothy F. Harding, California State University, Los Angeles "This lively and stimulating discussion of urban `renewal' and popular protest in Rio de Janeiro brings together several themes of current interest, including the spatial and public-health dimensions of social control, popular responses to new forms of state repression and professional expertise, and class conflict beyond the workplace. . . . [A]n important contribution to the social history of Latin American cities."-Barbara Weinstein, SUNY at Stony Brook "Meade takes a refreshing and provocative perspective that offers substantial rewards to students of urban movements in general. . . . `Civilizing' Rio should provoke a rethinking of urban politics and movements."-Steven Topik, Journal of Interdisciplinary History "Using an impressive array of Brazilian primary and secondary sources and placing her study within a larger theoretical context on the causes of urban violence, Meade shows that Rio's development, like that of many metropolises in the developing world . . . was planned. . . . An excellent resource for those interested in Brazil and Rio de Janeiro during the Old Republic, and urban violence in general."-W. M. Weis, Choice "'Civilizing' Rio is a concise, well-written social history that will be invaluable to anyone conducting an examination of the modern urban environment's evolution. Professor Meade utilizes Manuel Castels's `theory of collective consumption' to examine Rio de Janeiro's growth and development. She effectively argues that the allocation of urban space and its amenities are not accidental, but planned in a manner that purposely separates the rich from the poor. . . . `Civilizing' Rio will be of great appeal to all who are interested in Latin American urban and social history. It also serves as a foundation upon which other comparative analyses of developing cities can be examined. It is unfortunate that the book will likely be ignored by the architects and planners who are responsible for the design of today's cities."-Sam Amado, Hispanic American Historical Review
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About Teresa A. Meade

Teresa A. Meade is Associate Professor of History at Union College in Schenectady, New York. She is co-editor, with Mark Walker, of Science, Medicine, and Cultural Imperialism (1991).
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Rating details

17 ratings
3.76 out of 5 stars
5 12% (2)
4 53% (9)
3 35% (6)
2 0% (0)
1 0% (0)
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