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African Accents, Speaking Child Spirits And The Brazilian Popular Imaginary: Permutations Of Africanness In Candomblé

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Chapter Summary

This chapter addresses seven questions concerning issues such as absence of representations of child spirits in Candomblé, representation of Africanness in Candomblé, and identity of Africanness in spirit possession performances. It argues that an answer to these questions can be found through an investigation into the ways in which the erês’ African identity comes to be created in their linguistic performance when manifesting in the human world. The chapter demonstrates that a closer examination of the erês’ speech reveals their identities to be constructed on a strikingly different understanding of Africanness than that promoted in the celebratory discourses. The six-minute skit consists of a caricaturized sales pitch by one ‘Dona Edith,’ presented as a middle-aged, Afro-Brazilian ‘community leader’ from the favelas of Rio de Janeiro.

Keywords: Afro-Brazilian community; Candomblé; child spirits; erês’ African identity; spirit possession



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