6638 - Coming to terms with the State and literacy

The expression the indigenization of modernity seems overly optimistic considering peoples such as the Apinaje and the Mebengokre of Central Brazil. Whilst no ethnologist would propose reverting to the discarded paradigm of victimization, there are few signs of empowerment in these societies. Increasing interaction with national society predisposes inclusion into those categorized by poverty, from the hegemonic national perspective. Acceptance of food donations play into the hands of ruralistas clamouring for land for export production. The failure to bar hydroelectric projects has demoralized community representatives, and iconic leaders on the international stage may watch their community base disintegrate as satellite villages break away. Everyone looks to projects to solve the future, seeing their formulation (or management) as the best use for anthropologists. Village interaction recalls Hobbes’s war of all against all. Enthusiasm for State benefits is a far cry from Clastres. Those who manage to rise above their peers, gaining access to literacy, State employment and education, are discredited and accused of alcoholism or theft of money, evoking the discussion of limited good by Foster and others in the 1960s. International directives and corporations in search of a better image pump money into producing beautifully illustrated books prior to the consolidation of indigenous writing. Orthographic differences to either side of the Xingu hinder written communication between these blocks of Mebengokre. In the meantime, the women have taken to the radio rather than to writing, to communicate news from one village to another, thereby overriding orthographic discrepancies and literacy itself.

Palavras-chaves: leadership, representation, literacy, orthography, gender

Autores: lea, vanessa (Dept. Anthropology, UNICAMP, Brazil, Brazil / Brasilien)


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