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Bóia-fria, a Brazilian rural manual laborer who is hired temporarily and has no relationship to the place of employment. The name bóia-fria literally means the cold food included as part of a worker's wages. Alternate names for these migrant workers include: avulso (separate), contínuo (messenger), clandestino (clandestine [in the northwest]), volante (from voar—to fly), safrista (from safra—sugar harvest), eventual (for the event), diarista (daily), and temporário (temporary). The practice originated in industries that required a large number of seasonal manual laborers, such as those engaged in the harvest of coffee beans, and was adopted by others that required a reduced labor force on a full-time basis but employed temporary workers to improve commercial yield. The practice provoked a rural exodus. Bóia-frias typically live in the urban periphery and at harvest time move to the fields, where they live in extreme poverty. Their level of education is low, and illiteracy predominates. Their basic diet consists of plain rice or rice and beans.

See alsoAgriculture .


Maria Da Conceição De Mello Lucas, O bóia-fria: Acumulação e miséria, 2d ed. (1975).

Aurélio Buarque Holanda Ferreira, Novo dicionário da língua portuguesa, 2d ed. (1986).

Additional Bibliography

Dias, Wilka Coronado Antunes. Vidas construidas na terra: O ir e vir dos trabalhadores rurais. Ph.D. diss., 1999.

Jannuzzi, Paulo de Martino. Migração e mobilidade social: Migrantes no mercado de trabalho paulista. Campinas-SP: Editora Autores Associados, 2000.

Welch, Cliff. The Seed Was Planted: The Saõ Paulo Roots of Brazil's Rural Labor Movement, 1924–1964. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1999.

                                      Dalisia Martins Doles

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