Chapter 1: Leaving Home
Unless otherwise noted, the experiences, conversations, and quotations related in this
book come from our interviews and participant observation in Ibiraiaras, Sananduva,
Passo Fundo, and nearby towns during a series of research trips between 1997 and
2008. In addition to attending political and social events and spending extensive
periods of time with individual families, we carried out more than fifty in-depth
interviews, between one and three hours each in length, all in Portuguese and some
videotaped. We interviewed movement leaders and participants, women who do not
participate in the movement, family members of activists in the women’s movement,
priests, nuns, politicians, union leaders, academics, and staff members of local ngos.
Our understanding of the history of the movement and how it changed over time also
draws on secondary sources on the mmtr and the economy of Rio Grande do Sul, as
well as more than twenty years of women’s movement newsletters and pamphlets.
1. For an outline of the economy of Rio Grande do Sul and how it has changed since
the 1970s, see Sergio Schneider and Paulo André Niederle, ‘‘Resistance Strategies and
Diversification of Rural Livelihoods: The Construction of Autonomy among Bra-
zilian Family Farmers,’’ The Journal of Peasant Studies 37, no. 2 (April 2010): 379–405;
Zander Navarro, ‘‘Democracia, cidadania e representação: Os movimentos sociais
rurais no estado do Rio Grande do Sul, Brasil, 1978–1990,’’ in Política, protesto e
cidadania no campo: As lutas sociais dos colonos e dos trabalhadores rurais no Rio
Grande do Sul, edited by Zander Navarro (Porto Alegre: Editora da Universidade/
ufrgs, 1996), 62–105; and Alice van der Schaaf, Jeito de mulher rural: A busca de
direitos sociais e da igualdade de gênero no Rio Grande do Sul (Passo Fundo: Editora
Universidade de Passo Fundo, 2001), 82–97.
2. For a basic introduction to the history of the Catholic Church and the emer-
gence of liberation theology in Brazil, see Thomas C. Bruneau, The Church in Brazil:
The Politics of Religion (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1982); and Scott Mainwar-
ing, The Catholic Church and Politics in Brazil, 1916–1985 (Stanford: Stanford Univer-
sity Press, 1986). For the impact of the Church on social-movement activism, see Ana
Maria Doimo, A vez e a voz do popular: Movimentos sociais e participação política no
Brasil pós-70 (Rio de Janeiro: Relume Dumará, 1995).
3. On the politics of the military regime and its use of torture, see Thomas E.
Skidmore, The Politics of Military Rule in Brazil, 1964–1985 (Oxford: Oxford Univer-
sity Press, 1990); Maria Helena Moreira Alves, State and Opposition in Military Brazil
(Austin: University of Texas Press, 1988); and A. J. Langguth, Hidden Terrors: The
Truth About U.S. Police Operations in Latin America (New York: Pantheon, 1979).
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