My debt to Brazilians who have educated me on the middle class
stems from my first visit to the country to the present. I am ever grateful
for the wonderful hospitality I enjoyed at the home of the family who
hosted me in high school. Dr. Adherval, Dona Carminha, Malu, Carol,
and Flávio Lins e Melo Torres made me one of the family, were my
primary teachers of Portuguese, and opened up for me the unequal
worlds of Recife and realities of the repression. During my next stay in
Recife, Patrícia and Claudia Chaves taught me much about the political
economic circumstances at work, gave advice on practicalities, and most
of all, o√ered their unwavering friendship. My deepest gratitude goes to
the Souto Silvas, the family of my former husband, Jorge, from Pão de
Açúcar, Alagoas, Sr. Zequinha, and Tonho (may they rest in peace),
Dona Haidea, Cira, Zélia, and their families; Zé, Rosele, Rosângela, and
their families. Special thanks to Zé, reliable analyst of Brazilian economy,
generous brother-in-law, adviser, and friend, and to Rosângela, for her
understanding over the years. I am most indebted to Jorge. Besides bene-
fiting from his rare intellectual sensibilities and erudition, I thank him for
listening carefully to my commentaries on things I had seen and heard
about class in Brazil. The concern all these friends have for Brazil and
Brazilians gave me a sense of this middle class not often recognized.
Starting fieldwork in a city of more than 17 million in which I had
one casual acquaintance was daunting. Paulinho ‘‘da Macedônia’’ and
Claudia housed me during a prefieldtrip visit to São Paulo in 1991. Their
open invitation thereafter, Paulinho’s political commentary with a sharp
Nordestino perspective, the music he fostered, and Claudia’s empathy
made this a second home for me. For hospitality and friendship during
my return trip in 1996, I thank Adriana Monte.
Many colleagues in São Paulo gave invaluable support and critical
commentary on my fieldwork. In the department of anthropology at the
Universidade Estadual de Campinas (unicamp), Sueli Kofes de Al-
meida, Adriana Piscitelli, Célia Sakurai, and especially Mariza Corréia
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