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Vibrant: Virtual Brazilian Anthropology

On-line version ISSN 1809-4341


ARANTES, Antonio A.. Compadrio in rural Brazil: structural analysis of a ritual institution. Vibrant, Virtual Braz. Anthr. [online]. 2011, vol.8, n.2, pp.70-112. ISSN 1809-4341.

This structural analysis focuses on the compadrio system. The empirical background is provided by observation carried out among sertanejo peasants of Bahia in the late 1960s and by the literature on the Latin American and Southern European variants of this institution. It is mainly concerned with two complementary problems. On the one hand, to draw a model that might represent that institution's elementary structure, virtually present in the variants of this system; on the other, to offer an interpretation of its meaning, by contrasting it with elements of the kinship and marriage systems, and taking in consideration the peasants' religious background. This exercise was inspired by Edmund Leach's Rethinking anthropology and his ideas about the Virgin Birth. Analytical perspectives for further research are suggested.

Keywords : compadrio; Bahia's sertão; ritual kinship; structure; generalization.

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