NEV’s new project with the Tide Setúbal Foundation looks at new formations of collective life in the peripheries of São Paulo

29 de September de 2023

NEV/USP began a new project under the coordination of associate researcher Teresa Caldeira, Professor at the University of California – Berkeley, through a partnership with the Tide Setúbal Foundation. The Project, called “New Formations of Collective Life in the Peripheries of São Paulo: Solo Mothers, Absent Fathers, Violence and Housing Circulation”, was structured last year and begun to be implemented in the first semester. The project is also organized by Prof. Dr. Sérgio Adorno, Scientific Coordinator of NEV/USP and head of the NEV-CEPID program, with NEV researchers Giane Silvestre and Maria Gorete Marques de Jesus.

Changes in families and the composition of households are some of the most importat dimensions of the immense transformations happening in the peripheries of São Paulo.  This research explores these dimensions expressed in the increase of solo maternity and the decrease of nuclear families; in the increase of absent fatherhood; in the proliferation of domestic violence; and the intensification of housing circulation.  The aim is to map the universe of the new forms of living together that predominate in the peripheries of São Paulo while seeking to understand, ethnographically, what it actually means to live as mother and/or a father, especially as a “solo mother” or an “absent father” and what are the new types of family arrangements that are emerging.


Research Team

All four researchers, Barbara Souza Lima, Breno Nascimento, Israel Brito and Nathalia Fernanda dos Santos, were selected from more than 100 applications. During the last months, the group went through an intense preparation, discussing the research problems, specialized literature, and existing secondary data on the subject. The team also took training in fieldwork and in the use of softwars to help collecting and organizing data. Currently, they are working on data collection through interviews with residents of the city’s peripheries.

Teresa Caldeira, who currently lives in the United States, spent the month of July in face-to-face activities with the group in Brazil. In early August, she held a seminar at USP’s Faculty of Philosophy, Letters, and Human Sciences to present the preliminary data on which the research is based.


Project Summary:

The peripheries of cities like São Paulo have been undergoing significant changes that affect countless dimensions of everyday life. These range from changes in labor and conceptions of worker identity to the incredible diversity of cultural production. In this project, we intend to investigate one dimension of these changes: the one that concerns the way people live together and shape their daily lives. This means exploring three inseparable aspects: the composition of the groups that live together and their dynamics; the domestic violence that affects these dynamics; and the socio-material characteristics of housing. What is meant by family, maternity and paternity has changed substantially, as have domestic arrangements and the organization of dwellings. This research is essential to guide the formulation of public policies for the urban peripheries, especially those relating to childcare and education, housing, health, gender and racial equality, violence and social justice.