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“Living with joy”: history, sociability, and alterity in Kaingang ritual life

“Viver com alegria”: história, sociabilidade e alteridade na vida ritual Kaingang


This article analyses the role of Kaingang ritual life in understanding the social, political, and cosmological dimensions of their relations to alterity, which requires contextualizing sources and historical processes. I reflect on aspects of the funeral rites in historical sources, reported along with war “feasts”, both of which concern intervillage life. These rituals hence pay a fundamental role in understanding the performances carried out in the Kujá Meeting (Morro do Osso Village) and in the Kiki Ritual (Xapecó Indigenous Land). The ethnography focuses on the rules of etiquette and the ritual prestations that guide relations between the exogamous moieties. Inspired by Americanist debates, one of its aims is to highlight the place of laughter as an alternative to relations of avoidance, arguing that humour in these societies has a range of mediatory roles, particularly in what concerns the incorporation of external powers and foreigners into the interior of the collectivity.

Key words:
Kaingang; ritual; avoidance; joking; alterity

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