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My Ph.D. research Everyday Practices of Transnational Living: Making Sense of Brasiguaio identities investigated the different Brasiguaios identities encompassed the towns of Itaquiraí and Ponta Porã, in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul (MS), Brazil, and Pedro Juan Caballero in the department of Amambay, Paraguay. My ethnography work in the bordering towns of Ponta Porã and Pedro Juan Caballero was deeply marked by the subjects’ everyday circulation and engagement in the socioeconomic life across both cities/countries, as if both towns/countries were one single place. In the ‘Brasiguaio landless camp’, in Itaquiraí – MS, my work was characterised by the subjects’ pursuit of land reform through their engagement in the Brazilian Rural Workers’ Landless Movement. My focus was on capturing the different socio-cultural dimensions of Brasiguaios’ daily practices, identities, and aspirations. Hence, whereas the mainstream literature on the Brasiguaios commonly represents this group as upholding a singular identity, I argue, the Brasiguaio identities are multiple.
Building upon the established premises of transnationalism, I suggest and advocate for a Proximal Transnationalism as a typology gluing together an approach embracing border issues, migration and transnationalism. Proximal Transnationalism aims at demonstrating how living in proximity to the country of origin plays a role in facilitating everyday practices and the movement of people across both borders. In this particular case, I argue, living in proximity with the country of origin formed a transnational space that locals refer to as if in or through the borderline separating from both countries, between extremes, two contrasting conditions. This is the space often referred as fronteira, zone embracing a part of each country.
Using ethnographic filming, I produced the documentary Brasiguaios: Transnational Lives and Identities. The objective of this documentary was to use filming as a method to gather and present the Brasiguaios’ immigration narratives while living in Paraguay and their everyday life in the landless camp Antônio Irmão, known as the Brasiguaios’ landless camp, in the town of Itaquiraí (MS) in Brazil, often affecting their social relations in both countries. The documentary has already been exhibited in the UK and abroad. The trailer and further information are available at www.brasiguaios.com