Panel Title: Cultural negotiation: the dialogue between rituals and globalisation

Author: Isabel Santana de Rose

Institution: Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina
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(Neo)-shamanic dialogs: encounters between the Guarani and ayahuasca

Paper Short Abstract:
This work is a reflection about the appropriation of the Amazonian beverage ayahuasca by a Guarani indigenous group from southern Brazil and the dialogues between these indigenous people, an international neo-shamanic group, the Brazilian ayahuasca religion Santo Daime and the Federal Government.

Paper Long Abstract:
About eight years ago, members of a Guarani community in southern Brazil, adopted the beverage known by its Quí­chua name ayahuasca in their ritual ceremonies, stating that this beverage is part of their culture and tradition. Although ayahuasca comes from the Amazon, today it is used in many different contexts and can be considered a transnational pan-entheogen. The adoption of this substance by a southern coastal group is a result of relations between the Guarani, an international neo-shamanic group, members of the Brazilian ayahuasca religion Santo Daime and medical personnel contracted by the Federal Government. The Guarani and the above mentioned groups are tightly connected, forming a network in which circulate people, knowledges and substances. On one hand, the formation of this network reflects local, national and international processes that involve representations of the shaman and indigenousness; on the other, it is a result of the praxis of the Guarani community before larger society. In this work, I analyze the appropriation of ayahuasca by the Guarani and the dialogues and negotiations that occur within the network called “alliance of the medicines”, suggesting that the insertion of the Guarani in this wider context makes possible a more equal dialogue between this group and the larger society. Finally, following Langdon, I propose that shamanism emerges from specific political and historic contexts and should be thought as a dialogical category, built by the interaction between actors with different origins, discourses and interests.

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