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The Reciprocal Implications of the living in the lives of the dead and the dead in the lives of the living. Politics, family and memory in the Sertão of Pernambuco

Grant number: 16/03846-6
Support type:Regular Research Grants
Duration: July 01, 2016 - December 31, 2018
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Anthropology
Principal Investigator:Jorge Luiz Mattar Villela
Grantee:Jorge Luiz Mattar Villela
Home Institution: Centro de Educação e Ciências Humanas (CECH). Universidade Federal de São Carlos (UFSCAR). São Carlos , SP, Brazil


This project unfolds two previous research projects also supported by FAPESP, by means of a Young Researcher grant and a Research in Foreign Country grant. The first project dealt with issues concerning family, violence, politics and memory, four central subjects in the life of the municípios where research was taking place. The second one dealt with the debate and local workings of the notions of clientelism and patronage. The problems raised since the beginning of my fieldwork in the backlands of Pernambuco state, concerning family, violence and memory and the relevance of ancestorship for the formation of political cadres led me to a problem that has been neglected up to now by my own work and by the few other ethnographies about this region: the relations between the living and the dead. This project aims at investigating and describing the political efficacy of the dead on four different positions: as ancestors; as victims of family vengeance; as souls in search of living persons; as close kin suddenly killed. My general hypothesis is that each of these conditions unleashes certain political, historical and mnemonic effects on the living. (AU)