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Power in Practice

The Pragmatic Anthropology of Afro-Brazilian Capoeira

Sergio González Varela

182 pages, 7 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78533-635-5 $120.00/£85.00 Hb Published (September 2017)

eISBN 978-1-78533-636-2 eBook

Hb   Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Buy the ebook from these vendors


Considering the concept of power in capoeira, an Afro-Brazilian ritual art form, Varela describes ethnographically the importance that capoeira leaders (mestres) have in the social configuration of a style called Angola in Bahia, Brazil. He analyzes how individual power is essential for an understanding of the modern history of capoeira, and for the themes of embodiment, play, cosmology, and ritual action. The book also emphasizes the great significance that creativity and aesthetic expression have for capoeira’s practice and performance.

Sergio González Varela is Professor of Anthropology at Universidad Autónoma de San Luis Potosí, Mexico. He is currently working on a book about the anthropologist Paul Stoller.

Subject: General Anthropology Performance Studies
Area: Latin America




Chapter 1. The Fight for Recognition: A Brief History of Capoeira Angola in Salvador,  Bahia, Brazil
Chapter 2. Capoeira Angola in Its Own Right
Chapter 3. Cosmological Bodies
Chapter 4. Mandinga: The Creation of Powerful Persons
Chapter 5. Playful Violence and the Ambiguity of Deception
Chapter 6. How Musical Instruments Become Persons: The Power of Materiality



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