Revista Brasileira de Estudos de População
Print version ISSN 0102-3098
FIGOLI, Leonardo H. G. and FAZITO, Dimitri. Social networks in a study on migration of Brazilian Indians: the case of the city of Manaus. Rev. bras. estud. popul. [online]. 2009, vol.26, n.1, pp. 77-95. ISSN 0102-3098. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0102-30982009000100007.
This article discusses several methodological aspects of the work of mapping social networks of migrant Brazilian Indians, based on an ethnographic study carried out on a group of migrant Indians (from the Upper Rio Negro, in Amazonian Brazil) and dwellers in the city of Manaus, also in the Amazon). The characteristics of the social networks of this population constituted an instrument for field study, making it possible to identify the individuals scattered throughout their destination area and obtain data on their systems of displacement and settlement in the urban area. This tool proved, on the one hand, to be an important research instrument and, on the other, a basic concept from the theoretical point of view. The networks themselves were seen to have strong social cohesion as they dealt with the maintenance and reorganization of their ethnic ties in an urban context. For example, the networks we charted indicated the malleability of ethnic boundaries established by the groups as the result of social relationships developed during the migration period. This obliged the researchers to apprehend the ethnic phenomena involved from the perspective of a true relational anthropology. Today new computerized technologies allow better visualization and more detailed analysis of social networks than was possible at the time of the study, in 1980. The new resources prove that this tool is even more significant in ethnographic research. The objective of the article is to discuss the tool's possibilities and applications in the study of migratory flows of Brazilian Indians.
Keywords : Indigenous migration; Social networks; Amazon; Ethnic identity; Urbanization.