Accepted paper:

On the production and reproduction of narratives, social distinctions and community boundaries


Ana Claudia Marques (University of São Paulo)

Paper short abstract:

Oral and written narratives produced in different social contexts (sertão of Pernambuco and north of Mato Grosso, Brazil), will be analyzed so as to highlight local modes of social inclusion, exclusion and distinctions, thus of the more or less fluid production of the community boundaries.

Paper long abstract:

The aim of this work is to analytically explore narratives which encompass constructions of local collective memories in two different social contexts - the Brazilian regions of Pajeú, in the dry lands of the state of Pernambuco, and Alto Teles Pires, in the state of Mato Grosso. The colonization of Pernambuco began in the late 18th century and was based on the opening of extensive livestock farms. In Mato Grosso, new settlements were formed from the 1970s onwards, and their fast development was connected to the establishment of the grain agribusiness. The great interest of local actors in constructing a local history was noted during fieldwork in the two regions. In both cases, oral and written narratives suggest modes of reproducing the main local social distinctions. The forms and contents of the narratives in Pernambuco show how dominant segments see and create themselves through a kind of encompassment of notorious characters and extraordinary feats within the networks of local kinship. The narratives frequently construct genealogies through which well-known characters and feats are socially located. In Mato Grosso, however, genealogies are absent in the narratives, even though it is assumed that the heads of the families who came from the South of Brazil to settle are the ones responsible for the occupation and progress of the region. The analysis of both cases reveals an interesting discursive, spatial, social and political similarity concerning the relationship between an exclusive and excluding "society" and the other (one part of the local population).

panel P217
Shaping space through personal narrative