ECPR

Install the app

Install this application on your home screen for quick and easy access when you’re on the go.

Just tap Share then “Add to Home Screen”

ECPR

Install the app

Install this application on your home screen for quick and easy access when you’re on the go.

Just tap Share then “Add to Home Screen”

Back to Paper Details

Participatory video as a means of political empowerment? Images and image-politics of ethnic minorities in northeastern Brazil.

Open Panel

Abstract

Drawing on recent experiments in the realm of ‘participatory video’, the paper discusses the central role of images in the struggle for recognition of identity among re-emergent indigenous groups in north-eastern Brazil. Many northeastern indigenous groups which – in the public mind – had long ceased to exist, during the last years and decades have found their way back into the Brazilian (and international) news, and projects like ‘Indians Online’ have opened up the cyberspace for local indigenous affairs. While some of the re-emergent groups have finally managed to find their ethnic status at least legally acknowledged, most are still tormented by what they experience as a lack of true recognition of their Indianness by fellow Brazilian citizens. Northeastern Indians, people say, are ‘Indians in disguise’, who make up their identity only for the benefit of land and public assistance. A verdict which is based mainly on visual evidence: to be recognized as ‘Indians’, Indians have to look like ‘Indians’. The participatory production of a small video documentary, in which the inhabitants of an Indian Reserve in the state of Bahia depict their view of the tourists, and the tourists’ view of the Indians, reveals the multilayered way in which ‘Images’ and the notion of Indianness are interconnected, and how they affect the true political emancipation of marginalized ethnic groups, in spite of increasing access to information and communication technologies.