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Rituals as culture: ethnic tourism and urban ritual performances

Grant number: 14/23023-9
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): December 01, 2014
Effective date (End): November 30, 2016
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Anthropology - Indigenous Ethnology
Principal Investigator:Antonio Roberto Guerreiro Júnior
Grantee:Betânia de Lima Ribeiro Almeida Freitas
Home Institution: Instituto de Filosofia e Ciências Humanas (IFCH). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:13/26676-0 - Transforming amerindian regional systems: the Upper Xingu case, AP.JP


The Upper Xingu rituals are present in numerous cultural events in Brazil and abroad. Groups of the region are regularly taken on excursions to make "performances of culture" in cultural institutions, schools, hotels, and government agencies. At the same time, there is an informal "ethnotourism" that attracts people from all over the world to attend rituals, participante in fishing expeditions or just spend some time in the villages. The objective of this project is to investigate such processes of "objectivation of culture", which are taking place both in urban settings and in the Xingu Indigenous Park. From the ethnography of urban performances and of rituals with the presence of tourists, we intend to discuss how rituals may be shown as objects to whites and how the concept of "culture" has been used by actors in these processes, what are the expectations of indigenous peoples and non-indians in such relations, and what kind of misunderstandings, or "equivocations", they may trigger.