Putting together sociology and art in an old Brazilian chocolate factory

Sociology is a field of study that can be paired with a lot of other disciplines. For example, combining sociology with art can lead to some interesting outcomes, including this example of a photographer working with families that moved into an old chocolate factory in Brazil:

Eight years ago, 60 families occupied the “Galpao da Araujo Barreto,” an abandoned chocolate factory in Salvador de Bahia, Brazil. Prior to setting up in this place, these families lived on the city’s dangerous streets.

Since 2009, I have been documenting the factory. From my studies in sociology, I understood that this was a unique community: Here was a large sub-culture within the city that behaved as one extended family. They built a microcosm in which the problems of drugs, prostitution and violence are tackled with the support of the community.

Sebastian Liste, 26, is a photographer currently living between Brazil and Spain. He is focused in developing long-term projects that mix his unique visual approach with his background in sociology to explore personal and intimate stories.

It would be interesting to hear Liste describe further how sociology better helps him understand this community and his art. It seems that sociology and art can often have the same ends: the betterment of society. This is achieved in different ways.  Art seeks to tell more stories or expose the conditions of people. Liste’s pictures on this particular webpage humanize these Brazilians who live in somewhat unusual conditions within an old factory. Sociology looks for data and theories that shed light on how to tackle social problems and in this situation could provide insights into the structural position of this group within Brazilian society and how their interactions benefit or hinder the social advancement of the group. Put together, photographs could reveal how this group moves forward in a post-industrial world (evidenced by the old factory) through human bonds that have now been separated (to some degree) from former lives on “dangerous streets.”

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