The Play of Mirrors

[ Latin American Studies ]

The Play of Mirrors

The Representation of Self Mirrored in the Other

By Sylvia Caiuby Novaes

Focusing on the Bororo people of west-central Brazil, this book addresses the construction of self-identity through interethnic interaction.

1997

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Paperback

6 x 9 | 199 pp. | 19 b&w photos, 3 tables

ISBN: 978-0-292-71196-9

Focusing on the Bororo people of west-central Brazil, this book addresses the construction of self-identity through interethnic interaction. By presenting the images the Bororo have of themselves as well as the images of others who have interacted with them, Brazilian anthropologist Sylvia Caiuby Novaes argues convincingly that Bororo self-images are constructed with the aid of a peculiar looking-glass—it is in the images of others that they see themselves.

Incorporating contributions from psychology, psychoanalysis, linguistics, and semiotics, Play of Mirrors focuses on symbols, images, discourse, and meanings rather than solely on the problem of acculturation. It thus reflects the thinking of a new generation of Brazilian anthropologists who have shifted their focus from native communities as isolated entities to an examination of their embeddedness within broader national and international arenas.

Author Sylvia Caiuby Novaes is Professor of Anthropology at the Universidade de São Paulo and has conducted field research among Brazilian Indians for more than twenty years. Izabel Murat Burbridge is a freelance translator in São Paulo.

"This book has something for nearly everybody. It is an excellent introduction . . . into the complex reality of indigenous culture and the politics of indigenous struggles for cultural and social survival in contemporary Brazil."

—Terence Turner, University of Chicago