Emerging ethos: ethnographic notes on "success" in contemporary Brazil
(Instituto Universitário de Pesquisas do Rio de Janeiro)
Paper short abstract:
During the 1990s, Rio de Janeiro's sociological map witnessed a new social segment's appearance in the media: The "New Emerging Society". The paper reflects on the social imaginary regarding notions of distinction, economic productivity, and success in contemporary Brazilian society.
Paper long abstract:
During the 1990s, many people were still decrying the economic crisis that developed in the previous decade immediately following the 1980s boom in consumption and was hitting mainly the middle class. At the same time, Rio de Janeiro's sociological map was witnessing a new social segment's appearance: The so-called "New Emerging Society", a network composed of social subjects whose social ascension was a constant theme in the press over a six-year period. Their recent "success", attributed to the discipline of their enterprising work in the Northern Zone of Rio de Janeiro's suburbs, was invariably illustrated with images of grandiose material conquests. The term "emerging" was borrowed from the vocabulary of economics, and although at times used to stigmatize in fact rewarded these "successful" people with a special taste of victory. The term's appeal lay in the fact that it seemed to metaphorize historical cravings for a Brazil full of promise. Based on newspaper articles and ethnography among members of this network , I reflect on the social imaginary regarding notions of distinction, economic productivity, and success in contemporary Brazilian society.
Elite strategies of distinction and mutuality