LAC Main Seminar Series: A political ethnography of the agribusiness caucus in the Brazilian Congress

Convener: David Doyle, University of Oxford

Speaker: Caio Pompeia, University of São Paulo

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Abstract: Facing growing strategic risks related to the prevalent antienvironmental and anti-indigenous initiatives in the Amazon, elites of the food systems operating in the country are giving more emphasis to “green” narratives. These efforts serve to differentiate these elites from traditional landlords – who are publicly considered central to supporting the current socioenvironmental situation. However, such divisions between dominant private actors cannot be identified in the Brazilian Congress, where the powerful agribusiness caucus cohesively leads deregulation bills. The research addresses this seeming paradox by analysing the construction of homogeneity in the strategic decisions of the caucus. The study triangulates empirical materials from six months of participant observation in Congress, 67 semi-structured interviews with parliamentarians and business leaders, and corporate and state documents.


caio week

Bio: A political anthropologist, Caio Pompeia is associated with the Post-Doctoral Program in Social Anthropology at the University of São Paulo (USP), where he researches food systems politics and its relations to climate, indigenous and food matters. He holds a PhD in Social Anthropology from the State University of Campinas (Unicamp) and has been a visiting fellow at Harvard University. He is the author of the book “Formação Política do Agronegócio” (Elefante, 2021), and his research has been published in HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory, Mana and Revista Brasileira de Ciências Sociais, among other journals. As an academic visitor in Oxford, Caio is researching power in the food systems.