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With their own hands: person, body, weapon and the practice of Martial arts in modern armies

Grant number: 14/21003-0
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Master
Effective date (Start): March 01, 2015
Effective date (End): February 28, 2017
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Anthropology
Principal researcher:Piero de Camargo Leirner
Grantee:Lucas Alexandre Pires
Home Institution: Centro de Educação e Ciências Humanas (CECH). Universidade Federal de São Carlos (UFSCAR). São Carlos , SP, Brazil


According to a series of studies conducted about the military on the socials sciences since at least the 1950s, is notorious that themes as the discipline, hierarchy, functions and military representations have a close connection with an anthropological problematic of the body techniques and the manufacture of the body. Taking the intersection of these themes, this research project aims to determine to what extent the practice of martial arts in Brazilian military academies influence on "fabrication of the body" and "domestication of the military person", as well as constant training in such practices suggest a complex link between the notions of body, weapon and combat between military. Starting from the idea developed in the sub-area known as "anthropology of the military", that the hierarchy can be taken as a" continuation of war by other means", we seek to the continuity of these studies from the perspective of the human body as an instrument technical, thinking the physical/intuitive abilities through practice martial arts as objects and/or artifacts of military discipline, and this as substance of the hierarchy, and therefore a central element of military life. Thus, through ethnographic work in military academies and the resumption of a literature, we intend to observe how the hierarchical and disciplinary mechanisms operating within a privileged language for understanding how the martial arts act as a nodal point of the person, body and artifact (weapon). Among other elements of interest, realized through previous forays into the field, that martial arts hierarchies intertwine and transform with military hierarchies, and vice versa. Following this track, we think that the study of the relationship between both hierarchies can be a key to understand how the practice of martial arts is thought and lived within the military academies, be it with effective fighting techniques, be it as an language to is to sort and select by merit those who engage in disciplining their bodies and minds, and so understand more broadly the implications of the relationship between body and military sociality. (AU)

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