Ibero-Amerikanisches Institut
Preussischer Kulturbesitz

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p. 395-408

Eliane Fernandes Ferreira*

Brazilian indigenous peoples and the debate on authenticity and cultural change

Abstract: Debate on indigenous identity and modernization has been widespread since the 1990s. The increased use of modern means of communication by the Brazilian indigenous peoples and their active participation in society have introduced a new dynamic to this debate and brought it to the fore once again. The debate has also been stoked by the reactions of Brazil’s non-indigenous society to the cultural transformations undergone by the country’s various indigenous communities. The juxtaposition of traditional culture and modernization often generates processes of cultural resistance, in this case on the part of the dominant society, which continues to cultivate an old-fashioned image of the Indian. This article attempts to analyze the causes of resistance to cultural changes generated by the active participation of indigenous peoples in today’s information society and the debate on cultural change, authenticity, and cultural identity.

Resumo: O debate sobre o tema ‘identidade indígena e modernização’ ocorre de forma extensa já desde os anos 90. A intensificação do uso de modernos meios de comunicação pelos indígenas brasileiros e sua participação ativa na sociedade concebeu nova dinâmica a este debate, fazendo-o ressurgir, principalmente devido às reações da sociedade não indígena brasileira diante às transformações culturais adotadas por várias comunidades indígenas no Brasil. Processos conjuntos e paralelos de revigoração da cultura tradicional e modernização evocam muitas vezes reações de resistência cultural, principalmente existentes nos discursos da sociedade dominante. Este artigo procura analisar as causas da resistência a mudanças culturais geradas pela participação ativa de povos indígenas na sociedade da informação nos dias de hoje e debater termos como transformações culturais, autenticidade e identidade cultural.

*Eliane Fernandes Ferreira obtained her MA in Social Anthropology from the University of Hamburg in 2003 and her PhD in Cultural Studies from the University of Bremen in 2007. Since 2009, she has been working as a research assistant at the Philipps-Universität Marburg, and since December 2011, she will be working as a lecturer at the Institute for Ethnology and Cultural Research, University of Bremen.

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