• Flavia Kremer

Student thesis: Phd


This thesis is an ethnographic study carried out with the Bororo people in Central Brazil. It focuses on how Bororo people's moral experiences are transformed through modernisation, evangelisation and globalisation. It will demonstrate that in spite of the cultural and communicational transformations entailed by the villages' global interconnections, the significance of two cultural prohibitions-moiety endogamy and the aije spirits (men's secret)-continue to inform the moral actions of contemporary Bororo. Through the use of filmmaking and film elicitation methods, the thesis investigates each of these prohibitions and contends that they are constitutive of the Boe gendered person. The study argues that in the midst of radical cultural and communicational transformation, it is through the construction of the gendered person that continuity is ensured. The thesis describes the radical transformations in two Bororo villages with particular attention to the youths' participation on social media networking through the Internet. It also stresses the importance of the notion of 'romantic love' in contemporary village life whilst also demonstrating how the prohibition on moiety endogamous marriages continues to inform the experience of Bororo multividuals. In order to investigate this issue, I explored the themes of 'romantic love' and moiety endogamy through the making of the visual ethnography In Search of a Bororo Mr. Right which accompanies the thesis. Whilst I investigate moiety endogamy through the making of a film, the significance of the aije spirits emerged in a process of feedback screenings, which unexpectedly turned into film elicitation sessions for the film medium, brought to the surface the strength of women's fear of these beings. Drawing on the analysis of the two prohibitions taken together, I argue that the Boe gendered person is constructed through the mediation of village relations with 'inside' and 'outside' others. In this sense, women are responsible for the manipulation of marriage alliances and the inspection of new babies (who are dangerous 'others') about whom they have the power over life or death. By the same token, men are primarily responsible for mediating relationships with 'outside' others (spirits, animals, non-indigenous peoples). They are in charge of unmaking dead bodies and conducting new souls to the village of the dead. Whilst the Boe gendered person is what ensures continuity in the midst of radical change, the village relations with the 'inside' and the 'outside' are in the process of transformation for the presence of the media, and the Internet in the villages is multiplying otherness and the spaces it inhabits.
Date of Award1 Aug 2015
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorPaul Henley (Supervisor) & Karen Sykes (Supervisor)


  • Gender, Personhood, filmmaking, film-elicitation

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