Constellations of Inequality
Space, Race, and Utopia in Brazil
Sean T. Mitchell
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In 1982, the Brazilian Air Force arrived on the Alcântara peninsula to build a state-of-the-art satellite launch facility. They displaced some 1,500 Afro-Brazilians from coastal land to inadequate inland villages, leaving many more threatened with displacement. Completed in 1990, this vast undertaking in one of Brazil’s poorest regions has provoked decades of conflict and controversy.
Constellations of Inequality tells this story of technological aspiration and the stark dynamics of inequality it laid bare. Sean T. Mitchell analyzes conflicts over land, ethnoracial identity, mobilization among descendants of escaped slaves, military-civilian competition in the launch program, and international intrigue. Throughout, he illuminates Brazil’s changing politics of inequality and examines how such inequality is made, reproduced, and challenged. How people conceptualize and act on the unequal conditions in which they find themselves, he shows, is as much a cultural and historical matter as a material one. Deftly broadening our understanding of race, technology, development, and political consciousness on local, national, and global levels, Constellations of Inequality paints a portrait of contemporary Brazil that will interest a broad spectrum of readers.