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A moving frontier: transit and indigenous migration between Brazil / French Guiana border

Grant number: 19/18255-1
Support type:Scholarships abroad - Research
Effective date (Start): April 24, 2020
Effective date (End): October 23, 2020
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Anthropology - Theory of Anthropology
Principal Investigator:Artionka Manuela Goes Capiberibe
Grantee:Artionka Manuela Goes Capiberibe
Host: Nancy Scheper-Hughes
Home Institution: Instituto de Filosofia e Ciências Humanas (IFCH). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil
Local de pesquisa : University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley), United States  

Abstract

The border between Brazil and French Guiana, located in an Amazon region on the margins (in the sense proposed by Veena Das & Deborah Poole) of the major political decision-making centers, is inhabited by an ethnic and cultural multiplicity which includes the Palikur, an indigenous population who speaks a language of the maipure-arawak family and has lived in this region for centuries. Since the establishment of the border in 1900, the Palikur have inhabited two very distinct countries, Brazil and France, and have been subjected to their control and migration policies. But despite this, they continued to move around the region and constantly make new migrations. Looking at the ways in which this population deals with the rules and boundaries imposed by the two nation states, embodied in a document bureaucracy, this research, based on fieldwork conducted in 2017, aims to understand how the political (among them state policies), economic, and social relations that are observed in this microregion affect the life of the Palikur, and especially how they intervene in these relations through their own sociocosmological prerogatives and cosmopolitical action. The main hypothesis of the research is that this border space - in which about 40 thousand people live or circulate - is formed by a unique sociality, a result of its peripheral place in relation to the two countries that constitute it, and also of the great diversity of populations that inhabit it. The research will explore three heuristic categories: border, transit and migration. It is about the polysemy of these categories and the disturbance of the meanings attributed to them, that this project will look, thinking about the place of the Palikur in the context of the lower Oiapoque River also in light of other border situations.