Lived experience, territory and cultural transformations: the identification of the Indigenous Land of the Tupinambá Indians of Olivença

Lived experience, territory and cultural transformations: the identification of the Indigenous Land of the Tupinambá Indians of Olivença

This is a post-doctorate research project that started in 2003 as a result of a plea from the people with whom I had previously done fieldwork, and the Brazilian agency for indigenous affairs, FUNAI (National Indian Foundation, Ministry of Justice), to coordinate the anthropological study for the recognition and identification of an "indigenous land" for the Tupinambá of Olivença, in the south of Bahia.

The research consolidates the theoretical approaches developed in the previous research period, taking into account the new situation both from the point of view of the political life of the Tupinambá and of the fieldwork and the compromised aims of the research. It combines the previous experience of participant observation (1997-1998) with the challenge of a study of a much larger area, under specific requests dictated by the Brazilian Constitution of 1998 (namely article 231 on "indigenous land"). Whereas in the first experience of research I focused on the life of the Indians residing in one specific locality (while, of course, knowing many others), the research for the indigenous land claim considers differentiation and continuity between all the areas of the territory and deals with issues such as how people constitutes itself as "a people" (povo indígena). Some of the methodological, epistemological and ethical reflections to be undertaken are about generalization in anthropological research, diversity constituted in the history of lived experience of a particular land; ethics and social responsibility in contemporary conditions of anthropological research.

The central theme in this research is the relationship of territory and belonging, of the person and of historical experience of the territory.  The theoretical orientations of this subject integrate, on a first level, three argumentative axles related with the Amerindian and, in particular, Tupi minimalism: the body as the locus of sociality, identity and ontogenesis, movement of kin groups and sociality. On a second level, the research integrates a more phenomenological approach to a historical and structural perspective. It discusses different approaches to indigenous politics of identity, sustained by perspectives on ethnicity intertwining missionary, colonial and capitalist processes (lived typically by "civilized" or "assimilated" Indians) and lived experiences.

The research discusses and partially integrates perspectives on ethnography and history that integrate the contemporary debates in anthropology on this subject. Since 2004 this research became associated within an international research on the same subject of indigenous transformations, based on the Museu Nacional - Federal University of Rio de Janeiro: Indigenous Transformations Centre (Núcleo de Transformações Indígenas, NUTI) funded by PRONEX and based in the Department of Anthropology at the National Museum of Rio de Janeiro (http://www.nuti.scire.coppe.ufrj.br/projetos.php)

Estatuto: 
Participant entity
Financed: 
No
Rede: 
Internacional - NUTI

This is a post-doctorate research project that started in 2003 as a result of a plea from the people with whom I had previously done fieldwork, and the Brazilian agency for indigenous affairs, FUNAI (National Indian Foundation, Ministry of Justice), to coordinate the anthropological study for the recognition and identification of an "indigenous land" for the Tupinambá of Olivença, in the south of Bahia.

The research consolidates the theoretical approaches developed in the previous research period, taking into account the new situation both from the point of view of the political life of the Tupinambá and of the fieldwork and the compromised aims of the research. It combines the previous experience of participant observation (1997-1998) with the challenge of a study of a much larger area, under specific requests dictated by the Brazilian Constitution of 1998 (namely article 231 on "indigenous land"). Whereas in the first experience of research I focused on the life of the Indians residing in one specific locality (while, of course, knowing many others), the research for the indigenous land claim considers differentiation and continuity between all the areas of the territory and deals with issues such as how people constitutes itself as "a people" (povo indígena). Some of the methodological, epistemological and ethical reflections to be undertaken are about generalization in anthropological research, diversity constituted in the history of lived experience of a particular land; ethics and social responsibility in contemporary conditions of anthropological research.

The central theme in this research is the relationship of territory and belonging, of the person and of historical experience of the territory.  The theoretical orientations of this subject integrate, on a first level, three argumentative axles related with the Amerindian and, in particular, Tupi minimalism: the body as the locus of sociality, identity and ontogenesis, movement of kin groups and sociality. On a second level, the research integrates a more phenomenological approach to a historical and structural perspective. It discusses different approaches to indigenous politics of identity, sustained by perspectives on ethnicity intertwining missionary, colonial and capitalist processes (lived typically by "civilized" or "assimilated" Indians) and lived experiences.

The research discusses and partially integrates perspectives on ethnography and history that integrate the contemporary debates in anthropology on this subject. Since 2004 this research became associated within an international research on the same subject of indigenous transformations, based on the Museu Nacional - Federal University of Rio de Janeiro: Indigenous Transformations Centre (Núcleo de Transformações Indígenas, NUTI) funded by PRONEX and based in the Department of Anthropology at the National Museum of Rio de Janeiro (http://www.nuti.scire.coppe.ufrj.br/projetos.php)

Objectivos: 
<p>1. Developing an ethnographical approach to consider ethnographically the specific historical context of indigenous people who are dealing for a long period of time with colonialism and capitalism and are now facing a new opportunity to have a voice in the international arena on the indigenous human rights, namely the right to indigenous land.</p><p>2. Consider theoretically the intertwining between a phenomenology of lived experience, structural and longitudinal dimensions of analyses. </p><p>3. Develop a reflection on the way contemporary ethnography in anthropology integrate academic reflections and engagement, overcoming the classical division between academic and advocacy anthropology. </p>
Coordenador 
Start Date: 
20/12/2003
End Date: 
31/12/2009
Duração: 
72 meses
Closed