11900 - Mulata clara com cabelo ruin" ¿ Distinguishing traits and the contextualization of the Body in a Favela in Rio de Janeiro

Already in 1985 Nogueira Oracy stresses the different modes of perceiving human bodily appearance between Brazil and the USA – colour and race are the instant markers in the US whereas in Brazil the descendants of slaves are rather characterized by the particulars of their physical appearance and not by their descendance. The status quo in the present in is mainly unchanged in Brazil: Official statistics distinguish the population by three categories – ‘white’, ‘pardo’ and ‘black’. In daily life a highly elaborated mode containing a large number of terms to organize difference is in function, where not only skin colour but other body features like hair and eye colour play an important role and are constantly recontextualised. Even if ‘the mulata’ is the popular celebrated aesthetic preference in the favela, specific body features are much more influential in welcoming a newborn baby, choosing a spouse, finding a job or an apartment. Nevertheless socio-economic reasoning is the key factor and rising in a socio-economic position always overrides racial body traits.

Keywords: Afro-Brasiliens, body in social context, favela

Author: Hochsteiner, Christine ( Institute for Education Sciences, Alpen Adria Universität Klagenfurt, Austria / Österreich)


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