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The construction of religion as cultural heritage: the heritage of ayahuasca as a public problem

Grant number: 21/11399-8
Support Opportunities:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Post-doctor
Effective date (Start): December 01, 2021
Effective date (End): August 31, 2022
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Anthropology
Principal Investigator:Ronaldo Romulo Machado de Almeida
Grantee:Henrique Fernandes Antunes
Supervisor: Daniel Cefai
Host Institution: Centro Brasileiro de Análise e Planejamento (CEBRAP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Research place: Centre d'Étude des Mouvements Sociaux (CEMS), France  
Associated to the scholarship:19/11202-0 - On Pluralism and Multiculturalism: a Comparative Case Study of Brazil and Canada, BP.PD


In a dialogue with French pragmatism, particularly with the work of Daniel Cefaï, this project assumes that the analysis of the recognition process of the religious use of ayahuasca as intangible cultural heritage can provide a relevant study on the ways in which religion takes the form of a public problem in Brazil. According to pragmatism, public problems arise and take shape when a community mobilized around an issue strives to circumscribe, contain, understand and control a situation perceived as problematic, as well as its evolution and modes of resolution. Thus, the constitution of a public problem does not concern only the people directly affected, but also the members of a political community who perceive themselves as indirectly concerned and who mobilize themselves by disputing the control of the problem. In light of this, one can say that the recent mobilizations and controversies surrounding the recognition of the religious use of ayahuasca as intangible heritage of Brazilian culture by IPHAN have made visible the ways in which boundaries, alliances, and tensions among ayahuasca religions, indigenous groups, state agents, and members of civil society take shape in the context of controlling the process of producing public policies for patrimonialization. Thus, the present project proposes to analyze the ayahuasca's patrimonialization process in Brazil as a public problem in Brazil. For this, we will utilize the methodology developed by the sociology of public problems in order to analyze the collection of documents on the theme of the patrimonialization of ayahuasca, which includes articles, dissertations, interviews with actors involved in the process, institutional productions of ayahuasca groups, documents produced in academic events, letters of recommendation from government agencies, among other documents. (AU)

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