artigos e ensaios - 1990 / Mariza Peirano

Three essays on anthropology in India


The three papers brought together in this volume of Série Antropologia were translated from Portuguese into English especially to make them available for an audience of non-Brazilian anthropologists and sociologists. The papers were written with the hope that a comparison of the Brazilian with the Indian academic experience could enlarge our understanding of the social, historical and cultural implications of the development of anthropology in different contexts.

This project started in the late 1970's when, as a graduate student at Harvard University, I decided to take a critical look at the dilemmas that face anthropologists who receive their training in the intellectual centres of the discipline, but choose to pursue their careers in their country of origin. The focus was on the social sciences in Brazil and especially on anthropology as an academic discipline.

To this existential, political (broadly speaking) and intellectual problem, I wanted to imprint a sociological approach. By deciding to examine the identity of anthropology in Brazil, I had two goals in mind: one was to clarify why certain problems or topics of interest were considered truly anthropological while others were labelled sociology, literary criticism, or history. The second goal was more ambitious. My intention was not to develop a simple study of the Brazilian case, but to widen it in such a way as to have it implicitly reflected on other traditions of social thought. Thus, even if at the beginning the research was not explicitly comparative, its major significance was to eventually lead to a comparative view. A contrast between two classical authors, Louis Dumont and Norbert Elias, was pursued to set the tone of the study: I hoped that, in the process of creating a dialogue between them and the Brazilian case, some assumptions underlying a "French" and a "German" style of social thought could be elucidated. (See Peirano, Mariza. The Anthropology of Anthropology. The Brazilian Case. Ph.D. dissertation, Harvard University, 1981).Leia na íntegra...