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Mebengokre kinship, social organization and gender: genealogical investigation of sociocentric marriage alliance

Grant number: 19/02655-0
Support type:Regular Research Grants
Duration: August 01, 2020 - July 31, 2022
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Anthropology - Indigenous Ethnology
Principal researcher:Vanessa Rosemary Lea
Grantee:Vanessa Rosemary Lea
Home Institution: Instituto de Filosofia e Ciências Humanas (IFCH). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil


The project constitutes a new sequel to research begun in 1978, with various stages undertaken since then, concerning the Metyktire, a subdivision of the Mebengokre (Kayapó), situated to the west of the river Xingu. One facet of the project is to learn how to use the computer program PUCK (Program for the Use and Computation of Kinship data), developed by the Laboratory of Social Anthropology in Paris. One of the creators of the program (Klaus Hamberger) is coding Lea's data for publication on the site Kinsources. The manipulation of the data by computer and the production of diagrams make technical support necessary, via specialized services. The objective is not only to make the data available to third parties, but to be able to analyze them for the researcher's own publications. The other facet of the project involves a field trip to the city of São Felix do Xingu, Pará, to investigate the beauty contest Miss Kayapó, held annually in the month of April, to coincide with the national day of Indigenous peoples. This event attracts practically all the Mebengokre communities located to the east of the river Xingu, both to participate in the contest and for a week-long series of song and dance performances. It has become the major tourist attraction of the city which is also a base for the evangelization of Indigenous communities. The contest was suspended after the posting of images of Mebengokre women on pornography sites, but it was later resumed. The researcher, who has already published a series of articles on female gender, sexuality, and the public performance by Mebengokre women of ritual wailing and self-flagellation (1994; 1999; 2005; 2013; 2015), considers that it is of important to witness this contest personally in order to analyze in what measure it is transfiguring the question of female gender among these Amerindians. (AU)

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