Encompassing half the continent of South America, Brazil is one of the most modern, complex, and misunderstood nations. Renowned Brazilian anthropologist Roberto DaMatta takes the misconceptions and offers a fresh, provocative interpretation of the complexity of social structure in Brazil. Using the tools of comparative social anthropology, DaMatta seeks to understand his native country by examining the values, attitudes, and systems that shape the identity of Brazil and its people. He probes the dilemma between the highly authoritarian, hierarchical aspects of Brazilian society and the concurrent desire for equality, democracy, and harmony in that same society. DaMatta leads us on a fascinating exploration into the the world of Brazilian carnivals, rogues, and heroes, and in so doing uncovers a deeper meaning of the rituals, symbols, and dramatizations unique to Brazil and its multifaceted society.
>Robert DaMatta is The Reverend Edmund P. Joyce, C.S.C. Professor of Anthropology at the University of Notre Dame and Senior Fellow at The Kellogg Institute at Notre Dame. He has published several books, including A Divided World: Apinaye Social Structure.
“Anthropologists who work in Brazil have long recognized DaMatta’s provocative Carnavais, malandros e herois as a classic ethnography of Brazilian national culture. Its publication in English is a boon to those who study ritual and myth in urbanized, industrial societies and those who, against the postmodern grain, seek to describe national cultures.” —American Anthropologist
In the past [four] decades Roberto DaMatta has established himself as one of Brazil’s foremost social scientists. [His book] is an intellectual tour de force which provides a much deeper understanding of the country. The book is essential reading for anyone truly interested in understanding Brazil and the Brazilians.” —Luso-Brazilian Review
"Using the theoretical tools of structural anthropology, DaMatta reaches beyond conventional academic anthropology to create an original blend of folklore and a kind of higher cultural journalism. The result is like a traveler's account of the metaphorical landscape of the world of his own culture." -Terrence Turner, University of Chicago
"This is an important translation of DaMatta’s classic work on Brazilian culture ... weaving ritual life, politics, social hierarchy, folklore, and literature into a complex tapestry which amounts to an ethnography of Brazil. This is accomplished masterfully against a background of comparative sociology which includes extended examples from the United States and India" —Journal of Ritual Studies