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Considering culture in development : the art of Capoeira as a vehicle for community mobilization, empowerment… Freire, Claudia 2001

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Considering Culture in Development: the Art of Capoeira as a vehicle for community mobilization, empowerment and non-formal education in Recife, Brazil by  Claudia Freire B.F.A., University of British Columbia, 1993  A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS (Planning) in  THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES School of Community and Regional Planning We accept this thesis as conforming JiO the reqliired standard ,  THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA April, 2001 C) Claudia Freire, 2001  UBC Special Collections - Thesis Authorisation Form  In p r e s e n t i n g t h i s t h e s i s i n p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t o f the r e q u i r e m e n t s f o r an advanced degree a t the U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h Columbia, I agree t h a t the L i b r a r y s h a l l make i t f r e e l y a v a i l a b l e f o r r e f e r e n c e and s t u d y . I f u r t h e r agree t h a t p e r m i s s i o n f o r e x t e n s i v e c o p y i n g o f t h i s - t h e s i s f o r s c h o l a r l y purposes may be g r a n t e d by the head o f my department o r by h i s o r her r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s . I t i s u n d e r s t o o d t h a t copying or p u b l i c a t i o n of t h i s t h e s i s f o r f i n a n c i a l gain s h a l l not be a l l o w e d w i t h o u t my w r i t t e n p e r m i s s i o n .  Department The U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h Columbia Vancouver, Canada  1 of 1  4/27/01 11:24 AM  Literature on Recife suggests that the various NGO's, CBO's and grassroots organizations of Recife constitute one of the strongest popular movements of any city of Brazil. Thus, the challenge to planners is to facilitate and encourage such groups in fostering citizen participation so that individuals of all classes, races and gender can have a voice and gain more control in decisions that affect their livelihood and their futures. Current literature defines 'empowerment' as a continuous process that enables people to better understand, upgrade and use their capacity to better control and gain power over their own lives. At the centre of empowerment are social learning and community mobilization, processes that can provide alternatives to the top-down practice of technocratic planning. Social learning and community mobilization focus on dialogue as a means to individual and group empowerment. Paulo Freire explores the importance of dialogue to education in his Pedagogy of the Oppressed and Education for Critical Consciousness. He proposes that education is a mutual process and that no one person has the answer, rather each person has knowledge based on his/her own experience and reflection. This thesis explores the role of popular arts in such processes, using as an example the Afro-Brazilian art of capoeira. The research, set in the context of Recife, attempts to illustrate the role capoeira plays as a vehicle for empowerment, social learning, community mobilization and non-formal education. It also intends to demonstrate the importance of culture and local knowledge to development and planning processes. The purpose of the research has been: • • •  •  To explore links between the above mentioned processes and the art of capoeira. To introduce a general study of two organizations in Recife which have applied the art of capoeira for the purpose of social betterment. To present an in-depth study of the organization ASSOCAPE (Association of Capoeiras of Pernambuco) and the role it has taken in organizing the capoeira community in Recife. To link the role of popular arts to planning practice.  ii  Abstract List of Tables List of Figures. Glossary Acknowledgments Dedication  ii v vi vii ix x  1. INTRODUCTION 1.1 Introduction and Motivation of Study 1.2 Research Problem and Questions 1.3 Methodology and Organization 1.4 Relevance of the Study  1 2 3 5  2. THEORETICAL ISSUES: Development Processes and Approaches 2.1 Introduction 2.2 Community Development 2.3 Community Participation 2.4 Participatory Development 2.5 Community Mobilization 2.6 Empowerment 2.7 Social Learning and Freireian Pedagogy 2.8 Concepts of Non-formal Education 2.9 Summary  6 7 9 11 12 15 17 21 23  3. CONTEXT: Capoeira as a Manifestation of Popular Culture 3.1 Introduction 3.2 The Dominant Culture/Popular Culture Dialectic  iii  24 24  3.2.1 Popular Culture in the Northeast of Brazil 3.3 Capoeira - A Discussion of Origins: Slave Culture in Brazil 3.3.1 Quilombos: Rebel Slave Commuriities 3.3.2 Capoeira, Urbanism and Persecution 3.3.3 From the world of crime to the world of culture 3.4 Summary  26 29 34 .36 39 41  4. CASE STUDY: Capoeira in Recife 4.1 Introduction. 4.2. The Place 4.3 Capoeira Through a Critical Lens 4.3.1 The Game and its Meanings 4.3.2 Oral Traditions: Stories and Music 4.4 Applying Capoeira for Social Betterment: A brief look at two organizations 4.4.1 Projeto Dancas Populares at Colegio Dom Bosco 4.4.2 Centro de Educacao e Cultura Darue Malungo 4.5 A Focus on ASSOCAPE - Association of Capoeiras of Pernambuco 4.5.1 Background 4.5.2 Observations from the field. 4.6 Summary.....  43 45 49 50 55 59 59 .62 65 65 68 75  5. CONCLUSIONS / RECOMMENDATIONS 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4  Introduction Capoeira in Recife: Achievements and Alternatives Popular Arts: Significance for Development Areas for further research  76 76 81 82  BIBLIOGRAPHY  84  DISCOGRAPHY  89  APPENDIX A:  Profile of Participants of Proj eto Dancas Populares  91  APPENDIX B:  Interview Guide for Unstructured Interviews  92  iv  List of Tables  Table 1. Mortality Rate on Slave Ships  30  Table 2. Population of Pernambuco and Recife  46  Table 3. Percent of Population African Origin by Area  48  Table 4. Racial Inequality in Brazil  49  Table 5. ASSOCAPE Membership  67  Table 6. Profile of Graduados of Grupo Capoeira Brasileira  69  Table 7. Profile of Mestres Interviewed  70  Table 8 and 9. Summary  75  V  List of Figures  Figures 1 and 2. Historical Maps of the African Slave Trade Figure 3. Mestre Bimba Figure 4. Mestre Pastinha Figure 5. Mestre Duwalle Figure 6. Geographical Location of Recife Figure 7. M a p of Political Administrative Regions of Recife Figure 8. The Capoeira Roda (play space) Figure 9. Saida Figure 10. Chamada Figure 11. Musical Ensemble of the Roda Figure 12. Mestre Piraja Figure 13. Roda at the Casa da Cultura Figure 14. Mestre Duwalle and Professor Capado Figures 15, 16 and 17. Roda on the Day of Black Consciousness  vi  Agogo  An instrument made of 2 iron bells. Used in the capoeira roda and also in African-Brazilian religious ceremonies.  Aluno  Refers to a student of capoeira.  Atabaque  A large drum similar to a conga, used in capoeira and considered sacred for the religious ceremonies of macumba and candomble.  Birimbau  An instrument made with a bow, wire and gourd. It is the most important instrument in the musical ensemble of the roda, considered sacred to capoeiristas.  Brincadeira  Play (similar to a child's sense of play).  Candomble  An African-Brazilian Religion.  Capao  A rooster or a chicken coop.  Capoeirista  A individual who has been baptized as student of capoeira.  Chamada  A 'hand call'. Refers to an inner game of capoeira where the two players engage in a ritualized walk.  Chula  The songs sung by the chorus in response to the ladainha.  Corrido  The songs that follow the ladainha/chula sequence in the game of capoeira.  Favela  Informal settlements.  Graduacao  Refers to the level of 'graduation' of a student of capoeira.  Grupo  Refers to a group or school of capoeira.  Jogo  Refers to the game of capoeira.  vii  Ladainha  A traditional solo (litany) sung at the beginning of a roda of Capoeira Angola  Mandinguiro  Refers to qualities of a trickster or sorcerer. Originating from a name for the Mande or Mandinka people of Africa.  Mangue  Mangrove.  Mestre  Refers to a Master of capoeira.  Mocambo  An informal settlement.  Morro  A hill. Favelas are typically located on the morros in urban Brazil.  Orixas  Deities in Afro-Brazilian religions, they are the intermediaries between Olodun, the supreme god of the Yoruba, and the mortals.  Quiroz L a w  The law instituted in 1850 that officially abolished the trafficking of slaves.  Quilombo  A fugitive slave settlement.  Quilombola  Residents of the quilombos.  Patua  Fetishes employed by capoeiristas for protection.  Reconcavo Baiano  Refers to the surrounding area of the Bay of All Saints in Salvador, Bahia.  Roda  Refers to the play space of the game of capoeira and also to the game itself.  Saida  'Exit', refers to the entrance of two capoeiristas to the game of capoeira.  viii  Acknowledgements  I wish to thank the following for their support throughout the writing of this thesis:  Dr. Michael Leaf and Mestre Acordeon (Bira Almeida) for their academic guidance and insightful suggestions  Peter Boothroyd for being my external examiner  CIDA Awards for Canadians for providing funding that allowed me to carry out field research in Brazil  I also wish to thank my family and friends for their constant support and love throughout this program. A special 'thank you' goes out to my mother for all of her patience and assistance in the last stages.  As well, I wish to thank all the staff, members and participants of: Projeto Dancas Populares Centro de Cultura Darue Malungo Associacao de Capoeiras de Pernambuco for sharing with me their knowledge and experience A special 'thank you' to all the Mestres, graduados and alunos of ASSOCAPE, in particular Mestre Duwalle and Professor Capado for sharing so much of their time and insights with me and for their friendships and support during my stay in Recife  Finally, I wish to thank Mestre Barrao, who introduced me to the world of capoeira  ix  Dedication  I dedicate this to my daughter, Zaya Isabel, whom has entered my life during these years that I have been writing this thesis. She is the joy of my world.  1. Introduction  1.1 Introduction and Motivation of Study According to Von Schelling (1992:248), culture has come to be seen as an essential element of development studies. It is essential to recognize culture and, by extension, the relationship between dominant culture and popular culture (and their respective modes of communication) in development work in order to acknowledge the differential access of individuals and groups to equitable development. "In a time where people are seeking a more equitable distribution of the benefits of production or, in other words, acknowledge the importance of transforming those who have been marginalized by development processes into participatory citizens, it is essential to recognize and validate the modes of communication utilized by marginalized groups" (Luyten, 1988:56). The objective of this thesis has been to explore and validate the role of popular arts in development processes. I have focused on the art of capoeira, an Afro-Brazilian art form, in order to illustrate the potential inherent within popular expressions for facilitating positive social change. Between October of 1997 and March of 1998 I carried out research in Northeastern Brazil in the city of Recife primarily with ASSOCAPE (Association of Capoeiras of Pernambuco). I also visited two other organizations/programs, Centro de Cultura e Educacao Darue Malungo (Centre of Culture and Education Darue Maluno) and Projeto Dancas Populares (Popular Dance Project).  I  1.2 Research Problem and Questions The intent of this study has been to expore the following propostition: The practice of activities connected to popular culture (capoeira) favors the establishment of positive development processes, including increased empowerment, social learning, nonformal education and community mobilization.  In the course of the research I explored the following questions central to this study: •  What is the relationship of popular culture to development processes?  «  What qualities specific to popular art (as a manifestation of popular culture) facilitate the development processes listed above?  © What are the results for communities and individuals? o  What are the implications for development studies and planning practice?  The fundamental motive for this research an interest in the importance of popular culture and its manifestations in processes of development and planning.  2  1.3 Methodology and Organization The research began with a review o f literature that reflected theoretical issues central to the study. This included attempting to define and understand development processes and approaches such as community development, community participation, participatory development, empowerment, community mobilization, social learning and non-formal education. I present several perspectives i n order to create a framework within which to present and understand the field research.  For my case study, I chose to focus primarily on one organization that acted as an umbrella organization for several capoeira groups i n Recife. I also introduce two other organizations i n order to illustrate the different approaches and contexts within which popular arts can be applied as development tools.  The research methods applied were: o  Interviews that were unstructured i n nature allowing space for dialogue. Participants in this process were primarily mestres, all members o f A S S O C A P E (see Appendix B for the interview guide).  o  Participation was o f fundamental importance to the research. A s a capoeira student, I had the opportunity to become a visiting student as well as researcher. This allowed for deeper understandings o f the workings o f the association as well as deeper relationships with individuals.  o  Informal dialogue was also very relevant to qualitative analysis. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to dialogue with mestres, staff and students/participants.  •  Observation was a fieldwork technique consistent throughout the process. This was particularly useful i n the monthly reunions o f A S S O C A P E as well as with Centro de Educacao e Cultura Darue Malungo and Projeto Dancas Populares at Colegio D o m Bosco. Observation allowed for insight into the interactions between various parties in all three organizations.  3  I used a journal for documenting interviews, dialogue and observation. A l l communication took place i n Portuguese and was later transcribed into English. I reviewed my notes with the people I spoke with i n order to present their stories accurately. This allowed for clarification and for individuals to make choices regarding what they would and would not like included.  O f course there are always limitations to field research. There is the constraint o f time, as 6 months i n the field was not sufficient for a conclusive study. A l s o , there are the challenges o f conducting research outside o f one's own cultural milieu. Though I had the advantage o f language, I was still i n a culture very different from my own. I tried to be conscious o f where my biases might come into play and aware o f the dynamics o f the relationships that I was building.  4  1.4 Relevance of the Study A s a planning student who intends to work i n the field o f 'development', this process has been an invaluable component o f my personal and professional education. The time that I spent i n Recife with A S S O C A P E , Centro de Educacao e Cultura Darue Malungo and Projeto Dancas Populares at D o m Bosco was an opportunity to learn directly from the experiences o f participants and staff. It was an opportunity to see the role o f a popular art form, capoeira, as a tool for development and positive change i n people's lives.  A s so much o f development work happens in countries (like Brazil), where a significant percentage o f the population is not equally sharing i n the benefits o f development, it is crucial that we explore new and creative approaches that seek to include marginalized populations. Expressions o f popular culture are one place to begin. For example, i n the case o f Brazil, Samba schools, churches, terreiros de Candomble and other cultural sites operate as centres for political mobilization. Referring to the Black Movement i n Brazil, Ivanir dos Santos, a non-governmental advocate for street children, explains that they are not disorganized, they are just a sector that have a different form o f organization (Hanchard, 1999:8).  It is essential for development workers, scholars, planners and students o f planning to look at paradigms outside o f dominant culture when thinking about 'development for all'.  5  2. Theoretical Issues: Development Processes and Approaches  2.1 Introduction The concepts and theories behind social organization and change are both numerous and complex. Each section in this chapter attempts to offer an understanding of the concepts I have deemed relevant to this study. Throughout the remainder of the thesis, I will be referring to, or elaborating on these concepts as they directly apply to the case study. It is necessary to acknowledge that the theories this chapter presents have multiple meanings and implications as, historically, they have been defined and applied in various contexts. I have attempted to emphasize definitions that are relevant to this discussion.  This thesis explores the significance of culture in 'development'. The term 'development' has been used in such a wide range of contexts that it is necessary to present some definitions, which are relevant to this discussion.  According to Esteva, the meaning of development post WW2 has come about due to the universally accepted condition of'underdevelopment'. "Since then, development has connoted at least one thing: to escape from the undignified condition of underdevelopment" (1995:7). 'Development studies' which was almost exclusively concerned with economic issues is now paying far more attention to the social dimensions of development (Midgley et a l l 986:2). "Social development is said to result in the fulfillment of people's aspirations for personal achievement and happiness, to promote a proper adjustment between individuals and their communities, to foster freedom and security and to engender a sense of belonging and social purpose" (Ibid.).  6  Midgley et al. (1986:3) identify the material objectives o f social development as improvements i n income, health, education, housing and other social services".  Others have provided alternative definitions. "Nyerere proposed that development be the political mobilization o f a people for attaining their own objectives. Rodolfo Stavenhagen proposed ethnodevelopment or development with self-confidence, conscious that we need to 'look within' and 'search for one's own culture' instead o f using borrowed and foreign views" (Esteva, 1995:7).  Esteva (1995:20) calls for recognition o f a 'new commons'; common man/woman creatively reconstituting new forms o f social interaction. According to Esteva, the people o f these new spaces are the heirs o f new forms o f communities and whole cultures destroyed by the industrial, economic form o f social interaction. He suggests that by reembedding learning i n culture, the 'new commons' have the affluence o f constantly enriching their knowledge (Ibid.). "Even those still convinced that development goals are pertinent ideas for the so-called underdeveloped should honestly recognize the present structural impossibilities for the universal materialization o f such goals" (Esteva, 1995:22).  2.2 Community Development  Numerous definitions have been applied to the concept o f 'community development' i n both planning and development literature. Before elaborating on the various themes inherent to community development, let us first address the concept o f community'. Perhaps the most widely accepted and applied definition o f community can be illustrated by the following quote, "Community...refers to people who live i n some spatial relationship to one another and who share interests and values" (Cary, 1970:2). However, this definition is perhaps too narrow i n today's increasingly complex urban settings and alternative systems o f organization are also being defined as community. "There has been a decline o f the locality as focus o f association and the growth o f other  7  foci o f association, such as employment in the same company or membership i n the same union, or religious organization, or interest group..." (Cary, 1970:35). In any discussion of'community' throughout this thesis, the latter definition applies.  One o f the principal characteristics o f community development is its potential as an agent o f change. B y some it is interpreted as the local counterpart o f national development planning and can even be incorporated into a national plan in order to achieve specific results (Cary, 1970:34). From this perspective, community development faces some limitations. "Either it operates at the level o f the organization and the superorganization, failing to engage the vast majority o f the people i n any meaningful way, or it restricts its field o f operations to an extremely narrow segment o f the total community picture..."(Cary, 1970:41). Cary (1970:19) provides a more optimistic definition i n his discussion o f community development as a process,  " development moves by stages from one condition or state to the next; it involves a progression o f changes i n terms o f specified criteria. It is, i n this view, a neutral, scientific term, subject to fairly precise definition and measurement expressed chiefly i n social relations: change from a state where one or two people or a small elite within or without the local community make decisions for the rest o f the people to a state where people themselves make these decisions about matters o f common concern; change from a state where few participate to one where many participate; change from a state where all resources and specialists come from outside to one where local people devise methods for maximal use o f their own resources".  When community development is presented as a process, those involved work without a detailed program, permitting each community to move ahead with its own felt needs (Ibid.). In discussing the psychological implications o f the community development process, Cary (1970:54) cites Haggstrom and his discussion o f the 'object community' and the 'acting community',  " A s an object, the community is made up o f an interdependent system o f neighborhoods, interest groups and other subsystems. A s an acting community, it engages i n collective action and community decision-making. People and groups of the object community have differential access to the acting community. In  8  fact, not all marginal groups that seek to enter the acting community are allowed to do so". According to Haggstrom (1970:54) "helping marginal people has been primarily a process o f planning for them". This is because o f the "presumed inability o f marginal populations to effect significant social change on their own b e h a l f (Ibid). The key word here is presumed. Later i n his discussion o f marginal populations, Cary (1970:105) provides an insightful conclusion to the above dialogue, "They (marginal people) have been objects to the acting community, defined as inferior, and these definitions control the situation o f poverty and enter into the image that marginal people have o f themselves".  I would like to briefly present one final perspective which is central to this thesis and which w i l l be elaborated on in proceeding chapters, Paulo Freire's concept of, "community development through cultural critical consciousness" (in O'Gorman, 1998:95). "Development among the impoverished is often seen as only social and economic improvement; for example, health, housing, production, schooling, training and marketing. Yet it is really culture, expressed through choices, aspirations and value judgments, that holds all these together" (O'Gorman, 1998:98).  2.3 Community Participation According to Midgley et al. (1986:19), community participation theory developed, in part, as a reaction to the community development movement which had proven its inadequacies because o f its "bureaucratic administration and superimposed direction". Central to community participation theory is the belief that ordinary citizens have been excluded from the development process. Consequently, "community participation advocates have sought to formulate a more politicized and people-centered approach" (Ibid.). Midgley et al. suggest that the notion o f mobilizing the poor and oppressed to participate i n decision making for social development reveals the inspiration o f democratic ideals (Ibid.). 9  True community participation has the potential to be an instrument o f empowerment. According to Arnstein (1969:216) citizen participation should actually be citizen power. "It is the redistribution o f power that enables the have-not citizens, presently excluded from the political and economic processes, to be deliberately included in the future, it is the means by which they can induce significant social reform which enables them to share i n the benefits o f the affluent society". Paul (1987:3) expresses a similar view, "development should lead to an equitable sharing o f power and to a higher level o f people's, i n particular the weaker groups', political awareness and strengths".  Community participation has become a legitimate theme for all those concerned with equitable development. However, the challenge lies in encouraging genuine participation and i n the ability to recognize 'non-participation' masked as 'community participation. I w i l l conclude this section with Arnsteins' (1969:216) typology o f eight levels o f participation: (1) Manipulation and (2)Therapy. The real objective here is not to enable people to participate i n planning or conducting programs, but to enable powerholders to "educate" or "cure" the participants. (3) Informing and (^Consultation. These represent levels o f tokenism that allow the have-nots to hear and to have a voice. Under these conditions they lack the power to insure that their views w i l l be heeded by the powerful. When participation is restricted to these levels, there is no follow-through, no "muscle," hence no assurance o f changing the status quo. (5) Placation. Simply a higher level o f tokenism because the ground rules allow have-nots to advise, but retain for the powerholders the continued right to decide. The next levels represent citizen power with increasing degrees o f decision making clout. (6) Partnership. Enables them to negotiate and engage in trade-offs with traditional powerholders. (7) Delegated Power and (S)Citizen Control. Have-not citizens obtain the majority o f decision-making seats, or full managerial power. "The ideology o f community participation is sustained by the belief that the power o f the state has extended too far, diminishing the freedoms o f ordinary people and their rights to control their own affairs" (Midgley et al. 1986:4).  10  2.4 Participatory Development The failure o f conventional development efforts led by state agencies to combat mass poverty has led civil development agencies (N.G.O.'s) to launch programs funded mostly by foreign donors to promote people's collective initiatives to improve their economic and social status. This has progressively grown into a new world wide culture o f development action termed 'popular participation i n development' or simply 'participatory development' (Rahman, 1993:25). According to Uhrik (1995:14), participatory development is "an evolving philosophy o f human development and liberation based on shared central ideas: that all people have the capacity to learn, grow and manage their affairs competently; that people can achieve high levels o f wellbeing and freedom as part o f a community; and that communities can create the power needed to overcome obstacles to liberation (such as poverty, hunger, disunity, addiction, dependency, isolation, ignorance) through a collective process o f learning and action".  The acknowledgement o f the importance o f applying participatory development theories and strategies to development action has led to the emergence o f a research approach known as 'participatory (action) research (or P A R ) . Rahman (1993:83) presents the distinctive viewpoint o f P A R as recognizing that, "domination o f masses by elites is rooted not only in the polarization o f control over the means o f material production but also over the means o f knowledge production including the social power to determine what is valid and useful". Practitioners o f P A R acknowledge that people cannot be liberated by a consciousness and knowledge other than their own. Therefore, it is crucial that people develop their own process o f consciousness raising and knowledge generation, and "that this process acquires the social power to assert itself vis-a-vis all elite consciousness and knowledge" (Ibid.). P A R is a reaction against more traditional research practices i n which external researchers with a subject-object relationship assume and assert the myth o f incapability o f the people to participate i n the research as equals. Consequently, such research "humiliates the people, and alienates them from their own power o f generating knowledge relevant for transforming their environment by their own initiative" (Rahman, 1993:89). Returning to the people the legitimacy o f the knowledge  11  they are capable of producing and their right to use this knowledge is considered by PAR to be fundamental in the promotion of its ideology of social transformation (Rahman, 1993:92).  The above notions put emphasis on education and communication as important instruments for development. As this theme will be prevalent throughout this thesis, I wish here only to introduce it as part of this discussion. When media is used in participatory projects, its purpose is to initiate and facilitate communication. "Influenced by the politically-oriented thoughts of Paulo Freire and Augusto Boal for the liberation and development of the poor, many development workers in the world came to see the role of communication as being to stimulate critical analysis, and to develop selfconfidence, participation, awareness and the organization of groups and communities" (Boeren, 1992:260).  2.5 Community Mobilization In its most general sense, community mobilization refers to the engagement of large masses of people in activities that have a predominantly social or collective objective. Mobilization as a development strategy and as a way of life has arisen historically from the failure of the individualist (pursuit of private gains) ethic to alleviate human misery and bring fulfillment to wo/man throughout the world (Rahman, 1993:17). In viewing the problem of human fulfillment at the mass level, the solution may be in mass mobilization, in stimulating people in collective creative activity for collective achievements, in the very process of which wo/men may be fulfilled emotionally while economic progress is also being made (Ibid.). Mobilization viewed as an expression of inner urges in a society is integrally connected with self-reliance, which in turn implies de-alienation of wo/manfromher/his economic and social environment (Rahman, 1993:18). According to Rahman (1993:19), if mobilization is to rest on the inner urges of the people and not be externally imposed it requires the following:  12  1. Subjective internalization o f factors o f creativity objectively external to individuals (for example, means o f production) through institutions, knowledge and culture, social interactions and so on. 2. A sense o f (positive) purpose i n the exercise o f ownership and decision making. 3. Above all, self-reliance, for it is from reliance on one's own resources, including those objectively external but subjectively internalized that an inner urge for creative work may be generated. In its fundamental sense self-reliance is defined as "a state o f mind that regards one's own mental and material resources as the primary stock to draw on i n the pursuit o f one's own objectives, and finds emotional fulfillment not only i n achieving the objectives as such but also i n the very fact o f having achieved them primarily by using one's own resources" (Ibid.). For oppressed people to be mobilized for economic and social development they have to be mobilized for resistance against exploitation that thrives predominantly on dominance-dependence relations. Negating the dominancedependence relations may be a difficult task as it can initially increase material hardship. Rahman (1993:21) suggests that mental staying power is needed in order to be successful and presents two examples o f how this can be achieved: 1. Cultivation: cultural or political education, practice (experience) o f self-reliance i n specific tasks, exposure to examples o f self-reliance under difficult conditions by other groups, communities and so on. 2. Energisation: generating an impulse o f self-reliance through inspiring leadership, examples, invocations and, perhaps most effectively, through liberation struggles. The relation between self-reliance and liberation struggles may be seen as a dialectical one. Self-reliance must be one o f the qualities that a liberation struggle seeks to liberate, and for this the quality must be present i n the consciousness (active); for it is not logically possible to liberate something that either does not exist, or exists only i n the unconscious (dormant). If mobilization implies serving a collective purpose as suggested above, let us then define 'collective'. A collective can be defined as an association o f individuals who possess a sense o f identity with the association, so that the collective interest registers emotionally i n the consciousness o f its members as part o f their 'individual' interest (Rahman, 1993:21). Some o f the factors that seem to contribute generally to collective consciousness i n different degrees are the sharing o f everyday lives, a common heritage  13  and culture, the sharing o f common problems, involvement i n common purpose activities (Rahman, 1993:23).  Freire (1970:32) summarizes community mobilization as a process where reflection, knowledge and critical consciousness are transformed into action. He goes on to describe this as "transformative action with the goal o f humanization i n order to counteract negative forces o f dehumanization which, through oppressive manipulation and control, compromise human values for personal gain and power" (Ibid.).  I would like to conclude this section with a brief discussion o f Rahmans' concept o f self-development that is intricately linked to theories o f community mobilization. Rahman (1993:178) proposes a 'creativist view o f development'; assuming that achieving one's creative potential is a basic human need, the development o f human beings as creative beings must be part o f the accepted basic human needs equation. The creativist view o f development is contrasted with the consumerist view o f the liberal trend i n development thinking which seeks to eradicate poverty i n material terms (Ibid.). The problem o f poverty i n this sense is a consumer's rather than a creator's problem, focused on the poor not being able to consume the things desired (or biologically required) rather than not having the opportunity to produce (or command) them through their creative acts (Rahman, 1993:186). 'Poverty' i n terms o f lack o f entitlement to develop as a creative being is not expressed as a concern. Rahman suggests that i n dependent development planning "we had not learnt how to plan the mobilization o f the human energy o f the people, to plan to develop with what we have, not with what we do not have" (Ibid.).  Furthermore, according to Freire (1970:143) "in order to determine whether a society is developing, one must go beyond criteria based on indices o f 'per capita' income (which, expressed i n statistical form, are misleading) as well as those which concentrate on the study o f base income. The basic, elementary criterion is whether or not the society is a 'being for itself. If it is not, the other criteria indicate modernization rather than development". Freire (1970:142) explains that i f wo/men are submitted to concrete conditions o f oppression i n which they become alienated 'beings for another', they are not  14  able to develop authentically. Deprived o f their own power o f decision, which is located i n the oppressor, they follow the prescriptions o f the latter (Ibid.).  People's self-development implies changing the relations o f knowledge, to restore popular knowledge to a status o f equality with professional knowledge. "Only with a liberated mind (of the people), which is free to inquire and then conceive and plan what is to be created, can structural change release the creative potentials o f the people. The liberation o f the mind is the primary task, both before and after structural change" (Rahman, 1993:195). Again, this implies breaking the monopoly o f knowledge in the hands o f the elites, giving the people their right to assert their existing knowledge; giving them the opportunity and assistance, i f needed, to advance their self-knowledge through self-inquiry as the basis o f their action, and to review their actions i n order to further advance their self knowledge (Ibid.).  1.6 Empowerment The concept of'empowerment' has come to be regarded as essential i n a development process that seeks to promote people-centered development, equal opportunities and social justice. A s the term empowerment is used i n various contexts, its meaning can be somewhat obscured. This section w i l l attempt to define empowerment as it applies to the development processes this thesis has presented thus far.  Power is the central concept i n the definition o f empowerment. It means bringing people to a sense o f their own power to act to achieve their goals, usually i n the face o f opposition. Empowerment requires, "a convergence o f capacity, which implies the ability to exercise power, to access institutions, and to nurture; and equity, which involves a sense o f getting back what one invests and the idea o f 'fair shares' o f available resources (Biegel i n Hanna & Robinson, 1994:xiii). Personal empowerment, through collaborative, cooperative, or reciprocal processes, is generally viewed as constituting a  15  step on the way to collective empowerment o f a social group or organized community with more clearly defined goals (Ibid.).  According to Wilson, "the embrace o f empowerment across the political spectrum coincides with the decline i n faith i n formal hierarchical institutions, whether governmental or corporate, to address the needs o f the poor and the middle class" (1996:619). Consequently, strategies to promote empowerment have been more particularly associated with the voluntary, or non-governmental, organization sectors and with community organization and peoples movements (Clark i n M a y o & Craig ed., 1995:2). Empowerment is not an outcome o f a single event; it is a continuous process that enables people to understand, upgrade and use their capacity to better control and gain power over their lives. It provides people with choices and the ability to choose, as well as to gain more control over resources they need to improve their condition (Shuftan, 1996:260).  Rahman (1993:206) presents a discussion o f both the quantitative and qualitative elements o f empowerment. He describes the quantitative element o f empowerment as "control over economic resources; but progress in this matter is by itself no indication o f enhanced social power o f the under privileged to assert their developmental aspirations and their freedom to take initiatives for their self-development". Rahman (1993:207) then highlights what he considers the three most important qualitative elements o f empowerment: 1. Organization under the control o f the disadvantaged and underprivileged people, with sufficient strength derived from direct numerical size and/or linking with other organizations o f similarly situated people. 2. Social awareness o f the disadvantaged, i n terms o f understanding derived from collective self-inquiry and reflection, o f the social environment o f their lives and the working o f its processes. The knowledge itself, and the feeling o f knowing from self inquiry, are both important i n giving the disadvantaged a sense o f equality with the formally 'educated' classes o f society, rather than a sense o f intellectual inferiority which is often a powerful force inhibiting the generation o f confidence i n the disadvantaged to rely on and assert their own thinking and take their own initiatives for development.  16  3. Self-reliance: people's power comes ultimately from self-reliance. Self-reliance is not autarky, but a combination o f material and mental strength by which one can deal with others as an equal, and assert one's self-determination. Once more, any degree of control over material resources is by itself no indication o f self-reliance, which is an attitudinal quality, inborn i n some and acquired by others through social experience, social awareness and reflection. Self-reliance is strengthened by a collective identity, deriving not only from material but also mental strength from solidarity, sharing and caring for each other and from thinking and acting together to move forward and to resist domination. In Freire's view, empowerment is the consequence o f liberatory learning. In this sense, power is not given, it is created within an exchange between co-learners and its expression is collective action on mutually agreed upon goals. It is possible to acquire social knowledge without literacy, through methods o f verbal inquiry and communication (Rahman, 1993:207). Empowerment is essentially one's access to entitlements, both material and non-material including decision-making power. Once again, empowerment is intricately linked with knowledge, and the assertion o f the validity o f all types o f knowledge, not exclusively 'elite' knowledge. Finally, on a more personal level, empowerment means feeling trust, acceptance and respect.  1.7 Social Learning and Freireian Pedagogy Social Learning is an area o f planning theory with great relevance for empowerment practice at both an individual and a community level. Social learning discourse is positioned as an alternative to the top-down practice o f technocratic planning. Central to social learning theory and practice is 'dialogue', which is presented as the means to individual and group empowerment (Forester, 1989 i n Wilson, 1996:625). Dialogue is seen as the route to self-reflection, self-knowledge, liberation from disempowering beliefs, mutual learning, acceptance o f diversity, trust and understanding (Habermas, 1984; Gronemeyer, 1993 i n Wilson, 1996:625). In this discourse, communication becomes a means to reach understanding among the individuals i n a group, rather than an instrument for transmitting or manipulating information (Habermas, 1984 in Wilson, 1996:625).  17  According to Freire (1970:148), dialogical theory o f action does not involve a subject who dominates, and a dominated object. Rather, it involves subjects who meet to name the world i n order to transform it. Cooperation is considered an indispensable characteristic o f dialogical action. Dialogue, as essential to communication, must underlie any cooperation. Cooperation leads dialogical subjects to focus their attention on the reality, which mediates them and which, posed as a problem, challenges them (Ibid). A s Freire testifies, no one can unveil the world for another. Although one subject may initiate the unveiling on behalf o f others, the others must also become subjects o f this act (Freire, 1970:150).  In the theory o f anti-dialogical action, manipulation is indispensable to conquest and domination; i n the dialogical theory o f action the organization o f the people presents the antagonistic opposite o f manipulation (Freire: 1970:156). Cultural action is always a systematic and deliberate form o f action which operates upon the social structure, either with the objective o f preserving that structure or o f transforming it (Freire: 1970:160). Dialogical cultural action aims at surmounting the antagonistic contradictions o f the social structure, thereby achieving the liberation o f human beings (Ibid.).  According to Freire, reflection is also essential to action. Freire uses the term 'praxis' to describe this process. Praxis meaning "reflection and action upon the world i n order to transform it" (1970:33). Praxis is the unity between what one does (practice) and what one thinks about what one does (theory) (Gadotti, 1994:166). In order to achieve this praxis, it is necessary to trust i n the oppressed or disadvantaged and i n their ability to reason, "whoever lacks this trust w i l l fail to initiate (or w i l l abandon) dialogue, reflection and communication, and w i l l fall into using slogans, communiques, monologues and instructions (Freire, 1970:48). Another important concept presented by Freire is that o f 'conscientizacao', "learning to perceive social, political and economic contradictions and to take action against the oppressive elements o f reality"(Freire, 1970:49). It is through this process o f conscientizacao that the oppressed can fight for their liberation (Ibid.).  18  One o f the basic elements o f the relationship between the oppressor and the oppressed (those who have power and those who do not) is prescription, "every prescription represents the imposition o f one individual's choice upon another, transforming the consciousness o f the person prescribed to into one that conforms with the prescriber's consciousness" (Freire, 1970:29). According to Freire, i n order to surmount the situation o f oppression, people must first critically recognize its causes, so that through transforming action they can create a new situation (Ibid.). "In order for the oppressed to be able to wage the struggle for their liberation, they must perceive the reality o f oppression not as a closed world from which there is no exit, but as a limiting situation which they can transform" (Freire, 1970:31). N o pedagogy which is truly liberating can remain distant from the oppressed by treating them as unfortunates and by presenting for their emulation models from among the oppressors. The oppressed must be their own examples i n this struggle (Freire, 1970:36). "Pedagogy which begins with the egoistic interests o f the oppressors (an egoism cloaked i n the false generosity o f paternalism) and makes o f the oppressed the objects o f its humanitarianism, itself maintains and embodies oppression" (Ibid.).  Another definition o f oppression presented by Freire (1970:37) is any situation where ' A ' objectively exploits 'B' or hinders his or her pursuit o f self-affirmation as a responsible person is one o f oppression". Self-depreciation is presented as another characteristic o f the oppressed, deriving from their internalization o f the opinion the oppressed have o f them. For the oppressors, it is always the oppressed who are "disaffected, who are 'violent', 'barbaric', 'wicked' or 'ferocious' when they react to the violence o f the oppressors" (Freire, 1970:38).  Education and participation are central concepts i n Freireian pedagogy. Freire presents a detailed criticism o f institutional education i n his discourse o f social transformation. He refers to this as the 'banking' concept o f education, i n which the students are the depositories and the teacher, the depositor (Freire, 1970:53). "In this concept, knowledge is a gift bestowed by those who consider themselves knowledgeable upon those whom they consider to know nothing" (Ibid.). B y projecting ignorance onto  19  others, a characteristic o f oppression, education and knowledge as processes o f inquiry are negated, "the capability o f banking education to minimize or annul the students' creative power and to stimulate their credulity serves the interests o f the oppressors, who care neither to have the world revealed nor see it transformed" (Freire, 1970:54). In this view, the educated individual is the adapted person, because s/he is better fit for the world and is discouraged from questioning it (Ibid.).  According to Freire (1970:51), in a humanizing pedagogy the method ceases to be an instrument by which the teachers can manipulate the students (or the oppressed), because it expresses the consciousness o f the students themselves. In this view, education should be co-intentional; teachers and students (leadership and people), co-intent on reality, are both subjects, not only i n the task o f unveiling that reality, and thereby coming to know it critically, but in the task o f re-creating that knowledge. A s they attain this knowledge o f reality through common reflection and action, they discover themselves as permanent recreators, "in this way, the presence o f the oppressed in the struggle for their liberation w i l l be what it should be: not pseudo-participation, but committed involvement" (Ibid.). Education must be o f such a quality that it w i l l train students i n intellectual self-reliance and make them independent thinkers (Bhave i n Hern, 1996:16).  If one is truly committed to liberation, the goal o f deposit-making must be abandoned and replaced with the posing o f the problems o f human beings i n relation to the world. Freire (1970:64) calls this 'problem-posing' education, where "people develop their power to perceive critically the way they exist i n the world with which and in which they find themselves; they come to see the world not as a static reality, but as a reality i n process, i n transformation". Banking education resists dialogue whereas problem-posing education regards dialogue as indispensable to the act o f cognition which unveils reality (Ibid.). Libertarian education starts with the conviction that it cannot present its own program but must search for this program dialogically with the people. "Because liberating action is dialogical i n nature, dialogue cannot be a posteriori to that action, but must be concomitant with it. A n d since liberation must be a permanent condition, dialogue becomes a continuing aspect o f liberating action" (Freire, 1970:120).  20  Because references to Paulo Freire's theories are found throughout this thesis and because o f his connection to Recife, it is useful to briefly discuss some aspects o f his life. Paulo Freire was born i n the city o f Recife i n 1921. H i s schooling began with his parents with whom he learned to read and write. L i k e the majority o f Brazilians from the Northeast, he knew the meaning o f hunger and misery at an early age (Gadotti, 1994:3). Paulo Freire was thirteen when his father died. H i s situation became such that his studies had to be put off. H e only entered the ginasio (high school) when he was sixteen. A l l his classmates were eleven or twelve (Ibid). "Paulo Freire recounts that almost all his classmates were well-dressed, well-fed and came from homes which had a certain culture" (Ibid.). However, in his neighborhood he had contact with children and teenagers from poor families, " M y experiences with them helped me to get used to a different way o f thinking and expressing myself. This was the grammar o f the people, the language o f the people, and as an educator o f the people I devote myself today to the rigorous understanding o f this language" (Freire in Gadotti, 1994:3).  Paulo Freire's first profession was as a lawyer, however, this was short lived and he soon began to follow his real passion, education. In 1946 Paulo Freire began working at SESI (Social Service o f Industry) an employer's institution in Recife, where he stayed for 8 years (Gadotti, 1994:5). These years are said to have been the formative years o f Paulo Freire, the educator (Ibid.). It was here that Paulo Freire learned to talk with the working class and to understand their way o f learning about the world through their language (Ibid.).  1.8 The Concept of Non-formal Education This section continues from Freire's discourse o f education and social transformation of the previous section. The concept o f non-formal education is based on the recognition o f the limitations o f formal or institutionalized education. Non-formal education is advanced as an alternative method, which seeks to include the oppressed (the disadvantaged, the poor) i n the process o f social transformation. It is acknowledged that  21  half o f the people i n our world have never set foot in school, yet i n most countries o f the world the educational standards o f N . America have become expected. "In many countries the majority is already hooked on school, that is, they are schooled i n the sense of inferiority to the better schooled. Their fanaticism in favor o f school makes it possible to exploit them doubly: it permits increasing allocation o f public funds for the education of a few and increasing acceptance o f social control by the many" (Illich, 1971:7). Illich (1971:9) suggests that obligatory schooling inevitably polarizes a society, "it grades the nations o f the world according to an international caste system - countries are rated like castes whose educational dignity is determined by the average years o f schooling o f its citizens, a rating which is closely related to per capita gross national product, and much more painful".  According to Illich (1971:23), we permit the state to ascertain the universal educational deficiencies o f its citizens and establish one specialized agency to treat them. He proposes that there is i n fact a hidden curriculum to the institutional education system, that it is a ritual o f initiation into a growth-oriented consumer society, "under the impact o f urbanization, children became a natural resource to be molded by the schools (Illich, 1971:33). The fact that this system is exclusionary makes the poor increasingly socially powerless.  "Education, with its supporting system o f compulsory and competitive schooling, all its carrots and sticks, its grades, diplomas, and credentials, now seems to me perhaps the most authoritarian and dangerous o f all the social inventions o f mankind. It is the deepest foundation o f the modern and worldwide slave state, i n which most people feel themselves to be nothing but producers, consumers, spectators, and "fans", driven more and more, i n all parts o f their lives, by greed, envy, and fear" (Holt in Hern, 1996:28). Within such a system, other types o f learning and knowledge are not given credibility. "School enslaves profoundly and systematically, since only school is credited with the principal function o f forming critical judgement, and, paradoxically, tries to do so by making learning about oneself, about others, and about nature depend on a prepackaged process" (Illich, 1971:47). In fact, most learning is not the result o f instruction; it is  22  rather the result o f unhampered participation i n a meaningful setting. Although teaching may contribute to certain kinds o f learning under certain circumstances, most people acquire most o f their knowledge outside o f school.  Illich (1971:19) suggests that education relies on the relationship between partners who already have some o f the keys, which give access to memories stored i n and by the community. People should be able to meet around a problem chosen and defined by their own initiative, and creative, exploratory learning requires peers currently puzzled about the same terms or problems (Illich, 1971:19). Education for all means education by all not the draft into a specialized institution but only the mobilization o f the whole population can lead to popular culture (Ibid). Education is "a compulsory, forcible action of one person upon another for the purpose o f forming a wo/man as w i l l appear to us to be good; but culture is the free relation o f people, having for its basis the need o f one wo/man to acquire knowledge, and o f the other to impart that which he has acquired" (Tolstoy in Hern, 1996:15). Illich (1971:75) proposes that a good educational system should have three purposes, "It should provide all who want to learn with access to available resources at any time i n their lives; empower all who want to share what they know to find those who want to learn it form them, and, finally, furnish all who want to present an issue to the public with the opportunity to make their challenge known".  2.9 Summary  This chapter has explored several 'development' processes i n order to frame the discussion o f popular culture i n development that follows i n the proceeding chapters. Chapter 3 w i l l begin by presenting several perspectives on the concept o f 'culture' leading to a discussion o f the 'art o f capoeira' as a manifestation o f popular culture i n Brazil. Chapter 4 w i l l explore links between community mobilization, empowerment and nonformal education to the game o f capoeira as well as provide specific examples from field research i n Recife.  The concluding chapter w i l l re-visit definitions presented i n this  chapter and relate them to popular culture (in general) and capoeira (specifically).  23  3. Context: Capoeira as a Manifestation of Popular Culture  3.1 Introduction Culture can be defined as customs, tradition, artifacts, language, products of intellectual activity, products of artists and artisans, music and theatre. Culture is also a shared set of meanings, values, behaviors and experiences of a society or social group. Passed on from generation to generation, culture helps one to adapt to his or her environment and maintains the continuity of the society or group. Culture can be a transforming force as it embodies the human capacity to create, explore and reflect both individually and as a group. Human beings do not survive merely by adapting to their environment, but also by transforming it through the use of tools and new forms of knowledge (Von Schelling, 1992:250). Popular culture is often a means of resistance against dominant culture. Thus, popular art, as a manifestation of popular culture, can be a vital tool as an agent of social change. This chapter will set the context for the discussion of the art of capoeira as a manifestation of popular culture and the analysis of its role within Brazilian society.  3.2 The Dominant Culture / Popular Culture Dialectic If one is to speak generally about society and social organization, it can be said that society is divided into dominant groups and subordinate groups (or 'popular' groups). These two broad categories are marked by unequal economic and political power expressed in social class, gender, ethnic and religious divides. In the sphere of culture, 24  dominant culture refers to the control and ownership o f the means o f production and communication (of the media, educational institutions, religious organizations and so on). These are the groups with access to books, whose economic situation privileges them to formal education including university, actively participating in the process o f development, involved i n the debate o f ideas and projects that maintain and protect their power and privilege (Beltrao, 1980:2). Popular culture refers to production and communication that occur outside o f the realms o f the dominant groups. These groups lack conditions to participate i n the above context, and are characterized by their lack o f access to books and formal education, some illiterate, preoccupied with substituting their lack o f economic resources, remaining marginalized to the erudite (Beltrao, 1980:2). Recognizing that the prevailing interpretation o f reality is that o f the dominant groups, popular culture is marked by a struggle to define the framework through which to interpret our world and one's place i n it ( V o n Schelling, 1992:251).  Communication is a fundamental problem o f contemporary society, composed o f an immense variety o f groups that exist separate from one another due to heterogeneity o f culture, difference in ethnic origin, and by social and spatial distance (Beltrao, 1980:3). "The modes o f communication promoted by science and technology, with the ideal o f integrating systems, make apparent i n contemporary social reality these opposing groups: the organized elite who exert cultural domination and political power, and the masses, excluded from dominant culture and political activities" (Ibid.). Beltrao (1980:3) suggests, however, that all groups have one common interest, to acquire knowledge and experience i n order to survive. This is sought through communication. The possible modes o f communication are various; the process can be written, oral, graphic, corporeal, plastic etc., the function being to exchange ideas, information and sentiments.  In contemporary society dominant culture limits the effects o f more direct, personal communication that is sensitive or aware o f the personality o f the organized group, the socio-economic and cultural situation o f the community, the elites political influence and the overall psychology o f the overall reality (Beltrao, 1980:6). Because the literature, arts, beliefs, medicine and customs o f the popular classes are generally ignored  25  by dominant culture, these classes utilize their own vehicles o f communication such as art, leaflets, music, oral history, graphics and theatre to name a few. These informal methods o f popular communication reflect the ideas, reality and experiences o f the popular classes.  V o n Schelling (1992:248) asserts that culture is not a residual factor to be tacked on after the more important work o f economic and social analysis. Though the concept o f culture has entered into development debates, issues o f cultural dominance and subordination need to be addressed. It is essential that popular culture (including popular modes o f communication) be given the same validity as dominant culture. Marginalized populations often have limited access to forms o f dominant communication and , consequently remain less informed. This lack o f acknowledgement by the dominant classes inhibits equitable development and preserves existing power structures.  V o n Schelling (1992:251) suggests that broad processes o f social change are accompanied by struggles for cultural power between various social groups, which have a fundamental role i n changing, or maintaining that structure. Some forms o f resistance are capable o f being contained within the limits set by the dominant culture while others constitute a more fundamental challenge to the way that social relationships are ordered. "Every act o f communication is, i n reality, an attempt by an individual or group to act on another person or group, an attempt to change something i n the mental structure o f those who receive the message. This is the fundamental purpose o f communication" (Luyten, 1988:10).  3.2.1 Popular Culture in the Northeast of Brazil Proponents o f popular culture i n Brazil look towards popular culture and the people as the bearers o f an authentic national identity. Popular culture, i n their view, expresses the genuine history and experience o f the country through customs and traditions. In the 1960's the concern with popular culture led to a search for new forms  26  through which to reach 'the people', a large proportion o f whom were illiterate ( V o n Schelling, 1992:253). In the poverty stricken Northeast, a powerful and broadly based popular culture movement emerged with the purpose o f mobilizing 'the people' to question their subordination through grassroots education, adult literacy and the promotion o f popular culture.  The M C P (Movement for Popular Culture) was founded i n the state o f Pernambuco during the administration o f Joao Goulart (1961-1964). It had as its principal objective to promote an education program that elevated the cultural level o f the people so that they could better participate i n social and political processes (Mauricio, 1978:17). "The Movement for Popular Culture was born in Recife. In the mocambos (favelas) o f the morros (hills) and the mangues (mangroves). The Recife o f natives, o f abolition, o f revolution. It was created for the liberation o f the people, through education and culture" (Prefeitura da Cidade do Recife, 1986:10). The M C P was an example o f avoiding vertical models o f education. Its mandate was to take into account the needs, values, culture, ethnic, social, economic and political realities o f the people as educational references (Ibid.).  The local political climate must be mentioned i n this discussion, as it was one o f the factors that allowed for the creation o f such a movement. M i g u e l Arraes, who had been the M a y o r o f Recife in 1959 and Governor o f the State o f Pernambuco i n 1963, approved and supported the creation o f the M C P (Prefeitura da Cidade do Recife, 1986:21). Arraes had as one o f his objectives to support and promote an administration with popular tendencies - open to all forces acting at the community level whether organized or not (Ibid). This was met with a positive response by intellectuals; artists and professors who wanted to see more inclusive participation in processes o f change (Ibid). The M C P was intended to be "an informal laboratory, where new processes could be applied, with less bureaucratic intervention and where local or popular methods o f education also had a place" (Prefeitura do Recife, 1986: 23). Schools were set up 'for the people' in rooms belonging to neighborhood associations, sports clubs and religious buildings. During this period, Paulo Freire, the Educational Director at SESI, became  27  involved i n the M C P . It was in this context that Freire's pedagogy was elaborated and applied.  The M C P came to an abrupt end at the beginning o f Brazil's military regime (as did most popular culture organizations), where it met severe repression. During this period, which lasted until 1985, mass communication took over. W i t h such a high illiteracy rate, television became the predominant vehicle for state controlled publicity.  With the end o f the military regime i n 1985, Brazil entered into a period o f redemocratization. In the early 1980's there had been nation wide demonstrations demanding direct elections to choose a new president and there had been a wave o f strikes i n the advanced sectors o f industry which gave rise to two events o f importance to the democratization process. The first was the formation o f a single labor confederation, Central U n i c a de Trabalhadores, and the second, the rise o f a political party from the grassroots, Partido dos Trabalhadores (Workers Party). The 1980's are said to have been marked by the process o f political liberalization i n Brazil leading to the election o f Tancredo de A l m e i d a Neves i n 1985. It was not until 1989, after 28 years o f indirect elections, that the President o f the Republic, Fernando Collar de M e l l o , was elected by direct suffrage.  One o f the objectives o f this period was the formation o f local, regional and national leaders. There was also a rise i n the numbers o f residents associations, community centres, small farmers associations and centres for the protection o f human rights. However, some o f the social movements were co-opted by political and governmental sectors that desired to enhance their credibility in order to obtain votes. The early 1990's were marked by high rates o f unemployment, a squeeze on wages and salaries and the disintegration o f public service expenditure under the neo-liberal policies o f Collor's government. Despite this reality, or perhaps i n response to it, the social movements continued to expand and grow stronger. Collar was removed from office i n 1992 due to allegations o f corruption within his government. H i s vice-president, Itmar  28  Franco served the remainder o f Collar's term and was replaced i n the election o f 1995 by the Senator and sociologist Fernando Henrique Cordoso.  3.3 Capoeira - A Discussion of Origins: Slave Culture in Brazil There is much debate over the precise origins o f capoeira, most commonly beginning with the question is it African or Brazilian? The question o f origin is a crucial question for most adepts as it is central to the self-understanding o f many players; it is a fundamental question about identity. Most adepts accept that the essential elements o f capoeira were inherited from the Africans. This is evident in the aesthetics o f the movement and musical structure o f the art, i n its rituals and philosophical principles, as well as i n historical accounts o f the ethnicity o f practitioners o f the art i n the past (Almeida, Capoeira Arts, 2000). However, most questions related to the formative period o f capoeira are still ambiguous, "From what specific cultural groups did it come, and from which original art forms did it derive? The difficulty i n answering these questions resides i n the lack o f written registers o f capoeira and i n the absence o f an oral tradition that reaches as far back as the pre-dawn o f the art" (Ibid.). A l s o , the Europeans' uncertainty o f cultural and geographic boundaries o f the African territories at the beginning o f Portugal's colonial enterprises, as well as the mixing o f Africans from different tribes i n Brazil, increase uncertainties (Ibid).  One certainty, however, is that the art o f capoeira was borne i n the context o f slave culture i n Brazil, and that without the African slave trade to Brazil, it would not exist. The experience o f slavery in Brazil is o f central importance to understanding the art o f capoeira. Therefore, it is essential to present, at least briefly, some o f the recorded historical information o f this period i n order to explore some o f the fundamental values o f capoeira.  Africans arrived in Brazil soon after the territory's so called 'discovery' by Pedro Alves Cabral i n 1500 (Nascimento, 1992:88). When the explorers landed in Brazil they 29  found that there was no gold, precious stones or spices from which to make their riches. Rather, they found immense virgin lands to be cleared for farming or forests to be exploited for the Campeachy or Brazil wood which was valuable in Europe (Mattoso, 1985:9). In order to exploit these new territories, an abundant source of labor was required. The Portuguese began transporting Africans to supply the labour for their new colony. By 1535, the African slave trade was a normal, organized activity (Nascimento, 1992:88). This venture quickly grew into one of the largest enforced migrations in human history. There exist discrepancies in statistical figures of the African slave trade to Brazil. "This fact is due not only to the vagueness and unreliability of statistics, when available, but particularly to Finance Minister Rui Barbosa's infamous decree of 13 May 1891, which ordered the destruction, by fire, of all historical documents and accounts" (Nascimento, 1992:89). Estimates of the number of Africans transported to Brazil range from 3.5 million (Mattoso, 1985:40) to at least 16 million (Nascimento, 1992:89). Estimates may or may not include the mortality rate on slave ships, which is said to average between 10 - 40% (Lewis, 1992:21). The following table presenting the figures of five slave ships sent from Angola to Brazil in 1625 supports the above estimation. Table 1. Mortality Rate on Slave Ships Number of Captives  Number who died  Percentage who died  220 357 142 297  126 157 51 163  57.2 43.9 35.2 54.8  (Source: Mattoso, 1985:35)  There are four recorded major cycles of slave imports to Brazil (Mattoso, 1985:13):  30  1. The Guinea cycle during the second half o f the sixteenth century (west coast of Africa above equator 2. The Angola cycle o f the seventeenth century 3. The M i n a Coast cycle during the first 3/4 o f the eighteenth century (Ghana Bantu ) 4. The Bight o f Benin cycle between 1770 and 1851 Initially the slave trade came to be closely associated with the growing o f sugar cane, a crop that required year round labor by many hands as it depletes the soil quite quickly. The growing o f sugar cane made it necessary to import slaves i n the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and the mining o f gold heightened the demand for slaves i n the eighteenth century (Mattoso, 1985:13). After 1830, when England imposed restrictions on slave traffic, an illicit trade began to develop (Ibid.). In the nineteenth century, coffee, the new king o f Brazilian agriculture, helped to keep slave trading a profitable activity until beyond the 1850's (Ibid.). The traffic o f slaves was officially abolished in 1850 by the Queiroz L a w ; however, African people were smuggled into Brazil almost until the abolition o f slavery i n 1889 (Almeida, 1986:14).  For three centuries the slave trade brought together Africans from different ethnic groups, tribes, and clans and from all social categories. Bahia, Pernambuco and R i o de Janeiro were the three major slave-importing centres (Mattoso, 1985:25).  B y the time the African slave trade had been organized extensively, the practice o f hunting and capturing men, women and children for sale had almost disappeared. Instead, Europeans purchased slaves from African K i n g s and merchants (Mattoso, 1985:18). It is said to have taken approximately 35 days to sail from Angola to Pernambuco in good conditions, however, sailings that lasted 3-5 months have been recorded (Mattoso, 1985:40). The following is a quote describing this journey (Mattoso, 1985:35):  M e n were piled in the bottom o f the hold; chained for fear that they would rise up and kill all the whites aboard. Women were held in the second steerage compartment, and those who were pregnant were grouped i n the rear cabin. Children were crowded i n the first steerage like herring i n a barrel. If they tried to sleep they fell on top o f one another. There were bilges for natural needs, but  31  since many were afraid losing their place, they relieved themselves wherever they happened to be, especially the men who were cruelly cramped. The heat and stench became unbearable. The institution o f slavery nullified not only the individual's possessions but also his/her being. The slave became 'private property' a 'thing' i n the minds o f the Europeans and was denied any legal or civic status.  There was more than one route to freedom for the African i n Brazil: flight, certain special provisions o f the law (in the nineteenth century) and manumission, a costly and inconsistent process (Mattoso, 1985:155). The law i n Brazil, consistent with other slave regimes, stated that a child o f a slave mother was born a slave, even i f the father was a free man. The one exception to this law was for children engendered by a master. In these cases the child could become free after the death o f the father but only i f the latter had recognized him/her as his child.  In the decades prior to the abolition o f slavery i n Brazil, some changes were made to legally manumit certain categories o f slaves; primarily, the law o f 1885 freeing sexagenarians and the law o f the 'free womb' o f 1871 (Mattoso, 1985:156). The law o f the free womb, promulgated by the Imperial Princess Isabelle, granted freedom to children born i n Brazil to a female slave. The thought behind this law was that since it was by then illegal to import slaves from Africa, slavery would eventually vanish since there would be no new incoming slaves. However, this liberty granted to newborns had many restrictions, such as the stipulation that the minor child remained under the joint custody o f the master and its mother until the age o f 8. When the child reached 8, the mother's owner could either accept an indemnity o f 600 000 reias from the government until the child reached the age o f 21 or he could keep the child (which was the most common choice) (Ibid.). In the former case, the child would be placed in a charitable institution and put to work until the age o f 21 and i n the latter case, the child would continue working for the master (also until the age o f 21). This resulted i n a new form o f slavery, as the new law did not specify the maximum workday or minimum health and dietary criteria to which the 'free slave' should be subject (Ibid.).  32  The following maps indicate suppliers, slave depots, generalized movement o f slaves and the estimated number o f slaves exported per annum (Historical Atlas o f Africa, 1985):  Figures 1 and 2. Historical Maps of the African Slave Trade tltsuriWil Kiagiiumt iuwH:»i«« >S  AFRICAN DIASPORA IN THE NEW WORLD c. 1800  Ikggfii?  htm of slave importation  ||  Qtumtaim% of @ 28 COO Jtz Blacks  0  1  •* •  temmm .f & 100 000 f r « Blacks  Recngmsed.-.-Mfti»o!) .-towns-.ifld-  I-----. Slave-trade rou»s from Afiict  1/  of I itemed slivct to Africa  • , ••^SjpSMfifl'-:;;  , , :  ' •  'Carlou' * 17701 7 9 5  ^ jM  J l i  H^Hr /  r--/ • • •  rHE SLAVE TRADE 170CI810  Sio Paulo  B/f*A  Jaaeir«  MAJOR SLAVE DEPOTS: : GULF OF GUINEA 1170O-1810  33  3.3.1 Quilombos: Rebel Slave Communities Unlike the U S with its free northern states, there was little legal refuge for Brazilian slaves (as mentioned above, various laws and provisions for manumission were established including the option to buy one's freedom, which the majority could not afford). There was, however, a vast hinterland that was either uninhabited or populated by indigenous groups. It is suggested that there were three basic forms o f active slave resistance; fugitive slave settlements called quilombos, attempts at seizures o f power, and outright rebellion (Kent i n Price, 1979:170). The latter two were extremely dangerous options, but they did occur and increased in frequency by the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. The most popular tactic o f resistance was escape to the bush, commonly practiced from the beginning to the end o f the slave regime (Lewis, 1992:37). Groups o f fugitive slaves formed quilombos (sometimes also called mocambos) which varied i n size from a dozen members to thousands (Ibid.). Quilombo comes from the Kimbundu word kilombo, denoting a concept traditionally linked to anti-colonial resistance (Nascimento, 1992:124). These communities were found all over Brazil from the sixteenth century on (Mattoso, 1995:138).  Quilombos were a product o f the instability o f the slave system, o f injustice and mistreatment. They reflected a reaction against the slave system, a return to African ways o f life far from the master's rule and protest against the conditions o f the slave system (Ibid.). The inhabitants o f quilombos were referred to as quilombolas. Quilombos appeared in large numbers i n areas where blacks were the majority rendering the police incapable o f preventing the establishment o f these marginal communities (Mattoso, 1995:139). According to Hanchard (1999:3), "Brazil had the single largest outlaw slave community i n the world, the Quilombo dos Palmares, and among the greatest number o f outlaw slave societies o f any slaveholding system in the hemisphere".  The exact year o f the formation o f Quilombo dos Palmares is not known, however, the first organized expedition against Palmares occurred in 1602 (Carneiro, 1966:19). In 1643 the population o f Palmares was estimated at 6000 (Ibid.). L i k e other  34  large Quilombos, it had its own self-contained social organization with its own economic and political activities. Some refer to Palmares as the first free nation o f the Americas after the European invasion, as it resisted colonial wars o f aggression waged by the Portuguese, Dutch and Brazilian colonial forces for over a century (Nascimento, 1992:123). "Brazilian Native Americans and anti-colonialist whites joined in the building o f Palmares, a fact that makes it a symbol o f truly multiracial collaboration and conviviality" (Ibid.).  There is a persistent oral tradition connecting capoeira with the Quilombo dos Palmares though, there is no written historical evidence o f capoeira i n Palmares. There are, however, several elements inherent to Palmares that help to explain this association. Both rebellion and flight involve total non-cooperation with the slave system and thus are regarded as the noblest responses to it. Palmares has become the symbol o f total and successful resistance to oppression (Lewis, 1992:39). This strikes a meaningful cord with capoeiristas who consistently affirm that capoeira (historical and contemporary) represents the spirit o f rebellion, o f non-cooperation with oppression and o f liberation. Flight and aggression are lessons taught by capoeira play, but they are often transmuted to become indirect aggression and mock flight, "...most, i f not all, responses to domination are encoded i n the capoeira interaction and a great number o f them involve accommodations with and adaptations to that domination. These compromises still involve resistance" (Ibid.). This is linked to the idea that the general response to slavery was not to rebel directly but to pretend to cooperate. References to Quilombo dos Palmares and R e i Zumbi are common i n contemporary capoeira music, below are two examples:  E Zumbi se fez rei dos Palmares N u m a luta marcada de sangue N o negro u m olhar veronil U m a lenda canatada por nos D a hisoria do nosso Brasil  Zumbi became the K i n g o f Palmares In a battle marked with blood In h i m a look (of) A legend sung by us About the history o f our Brazil  Hoje Palmares e um monumento patrimonio da humanidade E a simplicidade e o amor  Today Palmares is a monument patrimony o f humanity It is simplicity and love 35  E tudo que Deus ensinou E o simbolo da liberdade. (Henrique & Roberto; Clube de Capoeira)  It is everything taught by G o d It is the symbol o f freedom.  Mas la um dia para o quilombo eu fugi C o m muita luta e muita garra Tornei um guerreiro de Zumbi  Then one day I fled to the quilombo W i t h a lot o f fighting and much guts I became a warrior o f Zumbi  Sou guerreiro do quilombo quilombola L e i lei lei o (Mestre Barrao: 1999)  I am a warrior from quilombo L e i lei lei o  3.3.2 Capoeira, Urbanism and Persecution The origin o f the word capoeira is not all together certain, however there are popular oral traditions that help to explain how this word became attached to the art form. W e do know that the association o f the word capoeira with the jogo de capoeira came about approximately 200 years after the beginning o f the slave trade i n Brazil (Almeida, 1986:17). The word 'capoeira' has been around since the seventeenth century i n its Latinate, Portuguese derivation o f 'capao' a rooster or a cage for cocks and chickens (Lewis, 1992:43). Popular stories explain this association to the art o f capoeira; i n the city o f R i o de Janeiro, an old poultry market became a meeting point where slaves would play the game o f capoeira. In the state o f Pernambuco is a small port town, Porto de Galinhas (Port o f the Chickens). Oral traditions maintain that this town got its name for the reason that after Abolition, slaves were illegally imported through this town and the boats were reported to be carrying chickens (Mestre D u w a l l i , Recife; 1998). A third popular oral tradition links the art capoeira to the capoeira meaning a secondary growth (usually grasses) that appears after virgin forest has been cut down. This meaning is derived from the Guarany, the indigenous mother tongue o f the native Brazilian Indian dialects (Almeida, 1986:17). The story connecting the two capoeiras here is based on slaves escaping into this second-growth bush i n their flight from captivity as well as slaves practicing the art in these grasslands near the plantations but hidden from the masters and overseers (Lewis, 1992:42). These are only a few o f the stories that speculate the association o f the word capoeira to the art form. 36  Sometime in the eighteenth century, a large percentage o f the total Brazilian population began concentrating in cities. This trend accelerated after the declaration o f the republic i n 1889, and a significant percentage o f these new urbanites were ex-slaves leaving the plantations to look for new opportunities i n the cities (Lewis, 1992:42). It is generally suggested that the development o f capoeira i n the urban setting was associated with the aggregation o f a substantial group of, mostly dark, habitually impoverished people in the cities o f Brazil (especially Recife, R i o de Janeiro and Salvador) (Ibid.). The creation o f large neighborhoods o f people o f African and mixed descent facilitated the next step in the evolution o f capoeira into a fully mature art form. After the proclamation of the republic, the attempt to contain the activities o f capoeiristas intensified.  In the early 1800's various accounts o f capoeira began to appear i n police archives. Capoeiristas received specific mention i n the first Codigo Penal da Republica dos Estados UnidOs do Brasil (Penal Code o f the Republic o f the United States o f Brazil), instituted by decree on the 1 1 o f October, 1890 (Almeida, 2001). Article 402 stipulated th  "To perform on the streets or public squares the exercise o f agility and corporeal dexterity known by the name 'capoeiragem'; to run with weapons or instruments capable of inflicting bodily injuries, provoke turmoil, threaten certain or uncertain persons, or incite fear o f bad actions; Sentence - prison cell for two to six months" (Soares i n Almeida, 2001). During this period, any activity connected with African culture could be viewed as subversive at the w h i m o f the authorities. A s capoeira became a prominent expressive channel o f slave.resistance, it also became victim o f constant violence from both senhors (slave owners or former slave owners) and police (Soares, 1999:8). Documentation from this period confirms that individuals from various African Nations were charged as 'capoeiristas' at one time or another (Soares, 1999:25). The following are excerpts o f two registered police charges for the offense o f capoeira (translated from Portuguese):  "On the seventeenth day o f the current month escaped a slave by the name o f Manoel of Nation Cabinda, ordinary in stature, slightly round face, full lips, small eyes, dark i n color, with thick ankles and with scars from shackles on both legs. Often seen frequenting D a Vale street with others 'capoeirando' (involved i n  37  capoeira), whoever finds h i m and brings h i m to Direita 16 street shall be well rewarded." Diario do R i o de Janeiro, 24 o f February 1826. (Soares, 1999:24). "Manoel Mojumbe, slave o f Manuel Gomes de Oliveira Couto, was jailed for capoeira, and for attempting to fight with a guard, assaulting h i m with words." (Soares, 1999:31).  During the period o f the Brazilian Empire (1808-1889) there were running battles between police and capoeiristas on the streets o f Recife, R i o and Bahia (Salvador) (Lewis, 1992:45). The development o f capoeira in the urban setting was associated with criminality i n the minds o f the police and the upper classes. Chronically unemployed blacks living i n cities had to evolve new strategies for survival, strategies much like those known as 'hustling' in the U S (Lewis, 1992:47). Capoeira became closely associated with the label o f 'malandro' (hoodlum) and the two words became interchangeable (this label is still given to capoeiristas by some i n Brazil today). However, for the capoeirista, the practice o f 'malandragem' could be a positive cultural value representing ones ability to survive in adverse circumstances by using one's wit and physical skill (Lewis, 1992:49).  Another synonym for a capoeirista is 'mandingueiro', originating from a name for the African groups generally called the Mande or Mandinka people (Ibid.). Mandingueiro became synonymous with anyone o f African origin thought to have esoteric knowledge. The 'mandingueiro' came to be seen as a trickster or a sorcerer. Capoeira adepts were frequently known for this kind o f knowledge. They often employed fetishes, known as 'patua', to protect them i n the dangerous games. Yet another label which came to be closely associated with capoeira was that o f 'vadiacao' (roughly 'bum'). This perceived image o f capoeiristas after slavery is said to have been related to the kind o f 'leisure' time produced by chronic unemployment.  A s a result o f extensive police repression, capoeira became all but extinct in Recife, R i o and Bahia by the first decades o f the twentieth century. However, many o f the older Masters that I had the opportunity to meet testified to the fact that capoeiristas continued to develop their art i n more obscure localities. This type o f capoeira came to  38  be known as 'capoeira do fundo do quintal' (capoeira o f the back yard). Unquestionably, capoeira has changed and evolved gradually over the course o f many generations, and part o f this process is intimately linked with urbanization.  3.3.3 From the World of Crime to the World of Culture In 1930 when a military revolution put Getulio Vargas i n power, repression o f popular cultural expressions, including capoeira, began to ease (Almeida, 1986:32). It is believed that Vargas' governmental approach facilitated the work o f Mestre B i m b a (Manoel dos Reis Machado) o f Salvador, Bahia who played a significant role in restoring dignity i n the art o f capoeira (Ibid.). "The importance o f Mestre B i m b a i n the history o f capoeira was definitively established when he became the first mestre to open a formal school o f Capoeira i n 1932. O n July 9, 1937, the course o f capoeira history changed w i t h the official recognition o f his school by the government through the Office o f Education and Public Assistance" (Ibid.).  Mestre B i m b a named his first formal academy the Centro de Cultura Fisica e Capoeira Regional. He was concerned with legitimizing capoeira and creating a respectable image for the sport to counteract the old malandro stereotype (Lewis, 1992:60). H i s approach was to create a more organized and disciplined method o f teaching. In 1972, capoeira was officially declared a Brazilian national sport under the jurisdiction o f the Federecao Brasileira de Pugilismo (Brazilian B o x i n g Federation), and local and national tournaments were organized (Lewis, 1992:61). B y the m i d 1970's there were capoeira academies throughout Brazil and the first Masters had begun teaching i n the U S and in Europe.  Prior to Mestre Bimba, capoeira existed i n many displays throughout Brazil and had many denominations, including: vadiacao, capoeiragem and brincadeira de A n g o l a to name a few (Almeida, 2001). Mestre Bimba's style came to be known as Capoeira Regional. "The characteristics o f his capoeira were the training o f the art i n enclosed  39  school facilities, the implementation o f a course curriculum, the introduction o f a systematic training method, a defined musical ensemble o f one birimbau and two pandeiros, and an emphasis on the rhythms o f Sao Bento Grande, Benguela and Iuna which mandated specific jogos" (Ibid.). According to A l m e i d a (2001), "Mestre Bimba's most important contribution was perhaps the revolutionary concept that an activity outlawed by the dominant elites could become a prestigious art form freely practiced and taught as a means o f subsistence i n legally established organizations".  W i t h the new institutional approach to capoeira, there were many innovations and changes. The senior mestre, who had previously been in charge o f local outdoor games, also took on the role o f chief administrator, responsible for organizing financial and operational aspects o f the school (Lewis, 1992:63). This meant taking on more responsibility and learning how to delegate his authority (I refer only to the mestre as male i n this context as there were no recognized female mestres and the art was primarily male-centered at this point).  Another important figure i n the history o f capoeira was a contemporary o f Mestre Bimba's, Mestre Pastinha (Vicente Ferreira Pastinha). Mestre Pastinha is considered the paradigm o f Capoeira Angola, a particular approach influenced by the capoeiragem practiced i n the Reconcavo Baiano. "Capoeira A n g o l a was characterized by a high degree o f combat simulation i n which the mere suggestion o f an attack should be acknowledged; a focus on rituals, strategy and tactics o f the game; and an emphasis on playfulness and theatrics o f movement" (Ibid.). Mestre Pastinha officially created his school in 1942.  40  Figure 3. Mestre Bimba  Figure 4. Mestre Pastinha  (Source: Almeida, 1986)  (Source: Almeida, 1986)  More recently both Capoeira Angola and Capoeira Regional have generated new schools and styles based on interpretations o f the teachings o f Mestre Pastinha and Mestre Bimba. A l m e i d a names some o f these new styles 'Contemporary Capoeira Angola', 'Contemporary Capoeira Regional' and 'Contemporary Capoeira' (Ibid).  3.4 Summary This chapter has attempted to introduce various ideas around the origins o f the art o f capoeira in order to contextualize the more specific and detailed discussion that follows in the proceeding chapter. M y aim has been to illustrate the journey that capoeira has taken from being perceived as part o f the 'world o f crime' to being perceived as part o f the 'world o f culture'. A s this chapter testifies and as the following w i l l elaborate, one  41  cannot separate any part o f capoeira from the experience o f slavery i n Brazil. " O f crucial importance is the idea that capoeira is an invention by slaves, that is, created i n Brazil, i n the particular conditions o f slavery, and mostly by those o f African origin" (Soares, 1999:25).  42  4. Case Study: Capoeira in Recife  4.1 Introduction  Standing in the corridor o f what used to be Recife's penitentiary, now the Casa da Cultura (House o f Culture), I could hear the music o f the birimbau. M y first roda in Recife, the history and presence o f the art was clear. A s a visiting researcher and student o f capoeira I was invited to participate. There were close to forty capoeiristas, three birimbaus, one atabaque, one pandeiro and one agogo. The first game was about to begin. T w o mestres were squatted at the foot o f the birimbau. The rhythm being played was that o f "Angola" and Mestre Duwalle, the host o f this roda, began to sing a ladainha,  O negro resava pedindo a Deus do ceu E na presi ele chorava disendo que a vida era cruel Acrorentado na senzala se ajuela no chau Muintas veses lamentava ele nao entendia a rasao De tudo aquele sofremento ai meu Deus de tantajudiacao,  The negro prayed to God above He cried saying that life was cruel Chained in the senzala on the ground Many times he lamented without knowing why From all the suffering, oh God from so much suffering  The chorus o f capoeiristas responded: One day the people of Luanda fought and won A high price for freedom which always belonged to us  O povo de Luanda um dia luto e venceu Por que costo a liberdade mas aos negros sempre pertenceu  43  Figure 5. Mestre Duwalle  The main birimbau was lowered to signal that the physical play could begin. The two mestres gestured to the sky, to the birimbau and to the ground, each with his own signs o f reverence to all great capoeiraistas, to God, or to the Orixas (or to whomever he chose to show reverence) clasped hands and entered the roda. The game had begun.  Capoeira is an art o f Afro-Brazilian origin that expresses its pedagogy through oral history, music, philosophy, self-defense and elements o f dance. In this chapter I w i l l present my argument for the assertion that the art o f capoeira, as a manifestation o f popular culture, has the potential o f being a vehicle for social change. This chapter w i l l draw upon the theories o f social processes presented i n the previous chapters i n order to illustrate that upon a critical analysis o f the art, examples o f such processes are found at work. I w i l l also draw upon literature, interviews with capoeiristas o f various levels, as well as my own understanding of the art.  The case study is organized simply by beginning with the general and working towards the more specific. Section 4.2 w i l l localize the study with some general information about Recife. Section 4.3 w i l l present a general discussion o f some o f the  44  interpretations o f the art o f capoeira, and sections 4.4 and 4.5 w i l l present more detailed studies o f organizations involved with capoeira in Recife. The latter has been organized into two sections, reflecting m y approach in the field. The first o f these attempts to provide a more general illustration o f 2 organizations i n Recife which utilize capoeira as a vehicle for social betterment. The second attempts to provide a more detailed discussion through the experience o f A S S O C A P E .  4.2 The Place: Recife Recife, capital o f the state o f Pernambuco, was 'founded' by the Dutch i n approximately the middle o f 17 century. th  Figure 6. Geographical Location of Recife  (Source: Washington D.C.: C.I.A., 1981)  45  Pernambuco was one o f the main centres o f sugar cane production. O l d residential neighborhoods that arose from abandoned sugar mills i n the early 19 century are found th  around the edges o f the old city centre (no longer the centre o f retail and business). A l o n g Recife's southern beaches is the 'copacabana-style' district o f apartments (Boa Viagem) that developed i n the 1960's and which now houses the upper classes o f the city. However, the other half o f the city is the city o f favelas. Historically, many o f the favelas were located close to the formal city. Though some favelas remain i n these areas, most are now located i n the suburbs, or more descriptively they are found sprawling over the hills that surround the central city. There are approximately 500 favelas in Recife's metropolitan area and it is estimated that close to 42% o f the population live i n these settlements (Prefeitura, 1991).  Table 2. Population of Pernambuco and Recife.  Annual  Resident Population  State/City  Growth  01/08/96  Rate % Total  Total  Men  Women  Urban  Pernambuco  7399071  7910992  3821442  4089550  6052141  Recife  1346045  1421947  661092  760855  1421947  Rural 1858850  1.69 1.38  (Source:  Historically, Recife was a commercial, administrative and educational centre with some involvement in the manufacturing o f textiles, leather and food processing. However, this was not sufficient to absorb the influx o f rural migrants from the coastal regions declining sugarcane industry. In the 1960's, federal and state initiatives to promote industrial development in Brazil's Northeast led to the creation o f hundreds o f new manufacturing firms employing tens o f thousands o f workers. However, these capital-intensive enterprises were incapable o f providing stable jobs. Currently, it is estimated that over 40% o f Recife's employable population are unemployed or working in the informal sector (Cabral and Moura, 1996).  46  Jarbes Vasconcelos has been mayor o f Recife since he was elected i n 1993. The city o f Recife is divided into six R P A ' s (Regiao Politica Administrativa - political administrative regions) and is further divided i n bairros (micro regions and neighborhoods):  R P A 1 - Boa Vista, Cabanga, Coelhos, Ilha Joana Bezerra, Ilha do Leite, Paissandu, Recife, Santo Amaro, Santo Antonio, Sao Jose e Soledade R P A 2 - Agua Fria, Alto Santa Terezinha, Arruda, Beberibe, Bomba do Hemet6rio, Cajueiro, Campina do Barreto, Campo Grande, Dois Unidos, Encruzilhada, Fundao, Hip6dromo, Linha do Tiro, Peixinhos, Ponto de Parada, Porto da Madeira, Rosarinho e Torreao. R P A 3 - Aflitos, Alto do Mandu, Alto Jose Bonifacio, Alto Jos6 do Pinho, Apipucos, Brejo da Guabiraba, Brejo de Beberibe, Casa Amarela, Casa Forte, C6rrego do Jenipapo, Derby, Dois Irmaos, Espinheiro, Gracas, Guabiraba, Jaqueira, Macaxeira, Mangabeira, Monteiro, Morro da Conceicao, Nova Descoberta, Parnamirim, Passarinho, Pau Ferro, Poco, Santana, Sitio dos Pintos, Tamarineira e Vasco da Gama R P A 4 - Caxanga, Cidade Universitaria, Cordeiro, Engenho do Meio, Ilha do Retiro, Iputinga, Madalena, Prado, Torre, TorrSes, Varzea e Zumbi. R P A 5 - Afogados, Areias, Barro, Bongi, Cacote, Coqueiral, Curado, Estancia, Jardim Sao Paulo, Jiquia, Mangueira, Mustardinha, San Martin, Sancho, Tejipi6 e Tot6. R P A 6 - Boa Viagem, Brasilia Teimosa, COHAB, Ibura, Imbiribeira, IPSEP, Jordao e Pina.  (Source: Prefeitura do Recife, 1991)  Recife's neighborhood associations are said to constitute one o f the strongest popular movements i n all o f Brazil. Many o f these organizations are born within the favelas. They are politically independent and democratically controlled. Various parties compete for influence i n the associations, including the Partido dos Trabalhadores. M a n y have established ties with the Catholic Church's community based human rights movement and have gained legal and organizational support from such ties. The neighborhood associations have also gained support from many o f the N G O ' s in Recife (Cabral and Moura, 1996).  47  In any discussion o f Brazil, it is essential to address racial politics, particularly in the Northeast, where a large percentage o f the population is non-white.  Table 3. Percent of Population African Origin by Area Metropolitan  Percent African  Area  Origin  Sao Paulo  26  Rio de Janeiro  39  Recife  67  Salvador  76  Source: (Hanchard, 1999:92)  Scholarship o f the 1940's, particularly by Gilberto Freyre, promoted the conceptualization o f Brazil as a 'racial democracy'. This was primarily based in the relatively easy acceptance by the Portuguese o f African religion, cuisine, cultural practices, and particularly an open ness to miscegenation. Freyrean Luso-tropicalism became the ideological cornerstone for a common belief in Brazilian racial exceptionalism: the idea that Brazil, unlike other multiracial polities, was not a land o f racial inequalities (Hanchard, 1999:5). Brazil's self-image as a racially unbiased nation was so pervasive that, by the 1950's it was known throughout the world as a 'racial democracy' (Ibid). B y the 1970's, scholars and activists began to openly question the racial democracy myth. Scholars such as Nelson do Valle Silva and Carlos Hasenbalg sought not only to debunk the racial democracy myth, but also to treat racial discrimination as a feature o f social life, an ever-present reality i n Brazilian society (Hanchard, 1999:7). "This research occurred within the context, during the dictatorship, of a reemergence o f black movements in Brazil, along with other modes o f protest,  48  organization, and mobilization that did not fit into the existing models o f political parties, trade unions, and interest groups" (Hanchard, 1999:8).  After 1986, scholars began to debate once again the difficulties o f racial classification i n Brazil (Ibid). The major difference between Brazil and other multiracial societies like the United States seem to be that Brazilian society emphasized 'phenotypic' rather than 'racial' distinction. However, one o f the phenomena related to racial identification in Brazil is the changing content of phenotypic categories (Ibid).  Table 4. Racial Inequality in Brazil, 1987 (in Percentages):  White  Black  Brown  Non-white  18  35  36.5  36.3  Completed elementary school  29.5  11.5  14  13.6  Average years o f study  4.1  2.2  2.6  2.5  Social security registration  57.3  43.1  37.4  38.2  Non-manual labor  26.9  6.7  12.6  11.6  10,615  4,326  4,984  4,888  Illiterate ten years  Average monthly salary (Cz$) (Source: Hanchard, 1999:156)  4.3 Capoeira Through a Critical Lens This section attempts to present some o f the more apparent as w e l l as subtle meanings inherent i n the game o f capoeira. Analysis is based on existing literature as well as observation and informal dialogue with various capoeiristas.  49  4.3.1 The Game and its Meanings Beginning with the basics, participants o f the art o f capoeira are referred to as capoeiristas. The game itself is referred to as a jogo, which translates as both game and play. The game can also be referred to as a 'brincadeira', which alludes to a sense o f 'playing as a child'. Sebeok (in Lewis, 1992:3) presents the idea that the experience o f play is often associated with the idea o f freedom, "The only ordinance that applies to pure play is the law o f liberty". The game o f capoeira is always played i n what is referred to as a roda (a circle) which is either marked on the ground i n some schools or formed by the participants o f the roda and/or by spectators (the game itself can also be referred to as a roda). During the course o f my fieldwork I observed (and often participated in) over one hundred rodas in Recife. A s an observer and participant I was fortunate to begin to understand some o f the subtleties as well as the more apparent aspects o f the game. A roda cannot take place without at least one birimbau (a bow, wire and gourd instrument). Most rodas w i l l have between one and three birimbaus, one atabaque (conga like drum) one pandeiro (tamborine) and one agogo (two attached bells - similar to cow bells).  The game is played two players at a time. The two contestants about to enter the roda squat at the foot o f the birimbau and only enter the roda to commence play once the birimbau has been lowered in a signaling gesture. In the game o f Capoeira Regional, this signal is not applied, however, in the game o f Capoeira Angola, this ritual is consistently observed. The corporeal expression o f capoeira incorporates ataques (attacks), defesas (defenses), posicionamento (positioning), floreio's (flourishes for the embellishment o f the game) and movements for attending to the Capoeira rituals (Almeida, 1986:155). The game is essentially one o f improvisation, where each player creates his/her own combination o f movements expressed i n his/her own particular style. The element o f improvisation i n capoeira is crucial and is related to the ethic o f freedom and liberation that is central to the game. In observing two players i n play one begins to see the importance o f a corporeal and sign-based dialogue. Each player is responding and/or reacting to the expression o f the other player, therefore wit and knowledge ('sabedoria') are highly revered qualities. "The movements o f the capoeiristas are chosen from a large  50  number o f defined techniques combined during the heat o f the game and according to the tactics d f each player. These techniques are like words and the combinations are sentences used by the players to express their own creativity and personality" (Almeida, 1986:153).  Capoeira is rich i n metaphors o f slavery. Even the role o f the mestre i n capoeira has been discussed at times as embodying the role o f slave master for a moment i n order to teach a lesson to a student. For example, the mestre/aluno (student) relationship is that of friend, o f teacher but also o f adversary primarily to teach the lessons o f malicia. M a l i c i a translates as maliciousness but its meaning i n capoeira is more complex than this. M a l i c i a refers to trickery, to being cunning, smart, knowing how to read a person or situation and knowing how to subtly maneuver i n that situation.  The ambivalent relations between master and slave are perhaps even more common i n contemporary patron/client relations as gratitude for favors wars with resentment against an intransigent system. "The mestre/aluno relationship can and does serve as a kind o f template, an icon available for rehearsing several key relations in the Brazilian social system. Especially important are power relations, both past (master/slave) and present (patron/client) for which strategies o f domination and liberation developed in the game has special relevance" (Lewis, 1992:101). A n example of this can be illustrated by describing a common strategy used within the game. T w o players are i n the roda, one decides it is time to end the bout, s/he extends his/her hand to the opponent, when the other reaches out to shake his/her hand, the first follows with a mock attack. This is but one example where the lesson is not only to deceive, but also to learn to unmask deception, to always be aware o f potential actions and reactions. In the context o f Brazil, the value o f malicia represents a strategy that is useful not only inside the ring, but also outside o f the ring, especially in the invasoes and favelas (Lewis, 1992:78).  Another key value to capoeira is that o f comradeship. The emotional bonds between a student and mestre are strong as well as between fellow students. There is an  51  ethos o f equality within the ring, where ideally all social boundaries o f class; race, age and gender are transcended. Comradeship is seen as an overarching principle, although the values o f malicia and solidarity might seem to conflict, i n practice they serve to complement each other, to aid i n maintaining the central creative tension between aggression and harmony.  In the game o f capoeira the roda (or play space) is an essential and acknowledged part o f the esthetic o f the game. The physically formed roda intentionally limits the play space. Therefore, players are forced to resolve their bout i n very close proximity to one another. This is one example o f how capoeira links play space with society at large, as space (or lack o f it) correlates with class. Another example, when one player i n the roda is tired and needs a breather, s/he stops the play to walk i n a circle counter clockwise within the ring, this is referred to as 'da volta ao mundo' (to take a stroll around the world).  Figure 8. The roda (play space)  52  A l s o , when the two players at the foot o f the birimbau enter the ring the term is 'saida', which translates as exit, this is explained as the players going out into the world. Literally entering the capoeira world and figuratively going out into the social world, since they are also training for its challenges. "As i n all metaphors, capoeira is both like and unlike its object, society. Where it is similar it can comment by imitation and iconic representation. Where it is dissimilar, it can unmask and critique, and ultimately express an entirely different order" (Lewis, 1992:201).  Figure 9. Saida  Within the game o f capoeira 'inner games' occur. The inner games can be described and recognized as breaks in the normal play. One such inner game is the 'chamada' (meaning a 'hand call' when two capoeiristas engage i n a ritualized walk touching one or two hands - or not) (Almeida, Capoeira Arts, 2000). The chamada can occur at any point i n the game of Capoeira Angola. One player stops, places his/her arms in one o f the chamada positions and awaits the other player to make his or her way over. This can be an acknowledgment that an attack has reached or could have reached the 53  target or it can be a trick movement to take the other person out o f their guard (Ibid). The chamada can also represent a truce, where both players move together with their bodies in contact in what appears to be cooperation. This truce in fact presents the players with an opportunity to explore many o f the dynamics o f oppressor/oppressed relations. The chamada has been referred to by some mestres as mimicking master/slave relations (Mestre Piu, Recife, P E , Brazil). In this interpretation, the two players are going back and forth between cooperation, the role o f the dominant and the role o f the dominated.  Figure 10. Chamada  This section has attempted to illustrate only a fraction o f the symbolism inherent to capoeira in order to link the game to social realities. "Capoeira is not just for the players, it also opens out towards a wider social field: on the streets or i n the field, i n academies or stage productions, adepts play to the audience and not just for each other. Therefore, it is productive to view capoeira as a kind o f drama, a theatre of liberation and domination" (Lewis, 1992:94). 54  4.3.2 Oral Traditions: Stories and Music In the previous section, I had mentioned that the game o f Capoeira A n g o l a always begins with a 'ladainha' (litany) which is a traditional solo. The ladainhas contain some of the most profound capoeira philosophy and history. The ladainha is followed by a call and response sequence referred to as the 'chula'. The chula acts as a kind o f ritual invocation, often among these calls are lines praising G o d , praising one's master and praising the game o f capoeira. The songs also frequently refer to both the spirit world including the 'pretos velhos' (literally 'old black men', referring to the spirit o f deceased slaves). The introductory ladainha presents an opportunity for the capoeirista to salute the opponent, the musicians and members o f the orchestra (Almeida, Capoeira Arts, 2000). The ladainha also invokes ideas and values central to the game. The songs that follow after the initial ladainha/chula sequence are referred to as 'corridos'. The corrido's are often chosen to reflect or provoke certain events i n the game.  Figure 11. Musical Ensemble of the Roda  55  The music i n the art o f capoeira becomes an important vehicle not only to express the continuity o f African traditions and beliefs, but also a vehicle for teaching the history and philosophy o f the art. It is in this context that I believe it is relevant to assert that one of the roles that the art fulfills is that o f social learning and non-formal education. Within the song texts o f capoeira continuities between the game and society at large can be made explicit, with specific references to gender relations, economic facts, historical reality, religious beliefs or any aspect o f social reality that the players choose to comment on (Lewis, 1992:162).  Historically, capoeira music was borrowed from other art forms such as literatura de cordel and samba; it reflected the universe o f the capoeirista, his/her everyday life. Recent lyrics often reflect what Mestre Acordeon (Almeida, Capoeira Arts, 2000) refers to as a contemporary mythology that has been pushed centre stage i n contemporary capoeira discourse.  The following excerpts were chosen to illustrate popular themes i n contemporary capoeira music:  E u tive pae, tive mae, tive filha Mas perdi toda familia, a liberdade e o amor E oige em dia eu so tenho dor e calo Trabalhando no embalo com o chicote do feitor  I had a father, a mother, a daughter But I lost my family, my freedom and love A n d today all I have is pain Working under the whip o f the superintendent  Corta cana, corta cana, corta cana Corta cana no canavial ( G . Senzala)  Cut the cane (sugarcane).... Cut the cane on the plantation  Solitude - A heart that cries Far from family Far from my children Far from home Angola  Solidao U m coracao que chora Longe da familia Longe dos filhos Longe de casa Angola  But the heart  Mas o coracao  56  Nao se pode escravizar N e m sua mente Que vaga no tempo Pensando no sonho De se libertar  Can not be enslaved N o r can the mind That spends time Thinking o f the dream o f liberation  Negro de hoje Nao tern pe no chau Tern diginidade A bem da verdade Es um vencedor Te estendo a mao (P. Daniel; Clube do Capoeira Santos).  Negro o f today Doesn't have feet on the ground Has dignity Truth Y o u are a victor I hold out my hand to you  A capoeira, o birimbau Derrubou o preconceito Hoje e luta nacional ( M . Suino, Grupo Candeias:2000).  Capoeira, birimbau Eliminated discrimination Today it's a national fight  Recently there has been a self-conscious change i n image influencing the creation o f newsongs i n the capoeira repertoire. For example, new songs have been added to reflect such changes as the increasing participation o f women as well as the increasing participation of people from various ethnic groups and classes. The following excerpts from two corridos illustrate these changes:  A capoeira e homen, menino e mulher  Capoeira is man, child and woman  Capoeira nao tern raca Capoeira nao tern cor Capoeira e amor  Capoeira does not have race Capoeira does not have color Capoeira is love  It is also in the musical aspects o f capoeira where religion and spirituality are most commonly reflected. The dominant Afro-Brazilian cults i n contemporary northeastern Brazil are those linked to the Orixas. The common reference to this type o f spiritism i n the northeast is Candomble. Predominantly, reference is made to both African derived beliefs mixed with beliefs from Catholicism, reflecting the religious syncretism i n the northeast. This syncretism is reflected i n capoeira i n that the ethos o f  57  freedom extends to the spiritual domain as well, allowing each player to find his or her own sense of the sacred within the ring.  Ie viva meu Deus Eh viva meu mestre, Ele e mandingueiro Eh toma sentido Eh e hora, e hora Eh, vamos' imbora Eh volta do mundo  Eh long live my God Long live my mestre He is a powerful mandingueiro Be alert and careful It is time to go around the world,  Eh Xango, capoeira protetor (M.Acordeon; Capoeira-Bahia:1996)  Hail Xango, protector of capoeira  The musical discourse within capoeira, which tends to express cooperative and communal values, is often interpreted as balancing the competitive and combative side of the physical dialogue. Capoeira is a way of life to those dedicated to it, not a diversion from it thus it reflects and critically examines society in all of its aspects.  Com muita raca vai quebrando barreiras Sempre ensinando a arte da capoeira Uma cultura maxima de um pove Que um dia serviu para o negro libertar  With much origin it breaks barriers Always teaching the art of capoeira A true culture of a people Which one day served to free slaves  Capoeira cantava Enquanto a chibata batia Na senzala um lamento Pedia a sua alforria  Capoeira sang While the whip hit In the senzala, a lamenting Asking for freedom  Aruanda e aruanda a Hoje eu sou guerreiro Filho de aruanda  Aruanda e Aruanda a Today I am a warrior Son of Aruanda  58  4.4 Applying Capoeira for Social Betterment: A look at two organizations This section will present my observations from a study of two organizations in Recife, which incorporate the art of capoeira as one activity in their varied mandates for social betterment. The objective of this component of my fieldwork has not been to present a conclusive study by any means. Rather, the intent has been to provide a general analysis of the role popular arts can have in processes of community development. Due to limitations of time, my methodology or approach with these organizations was primarily based in observation and informal dialogue with staff and participants.  4.4.1 "Projeto Dancas Populares" at Colegio Dom Bosco "Projeto Dancas Populares" (Popular Dance Project) is an initiative of The City of Recife's Department of Education. The mandate of the project is to expose students to popular culture of the Northeast so as to validate popular culture as an important aspect of learning. One of the principal objectives being to "steer youth awayfrommarginal activities" (transcribed from conversation with Professor Gordo, 1997). Escola (school) Dom Bosco is one of four public schools in the Regiao Metropolitana de Recife (Metropolitan Region of Recife) participating in the project. Dom Bosco is located in Bairro (district) Jardim Sao Paulo, one of the 16 bairros of RPA 5. The focus of the project at Dom Bosco is on teaching the art of capoeira to students at the elementary level, between the ages of 5 and 12. The project at Dom Bosco commenced in November of 1997 and is currently still running. During my stay in Recife, I visited Dom Bosco approximately once every two weeks. I would like to acknowledge that though this is not much time, both staff and 59  students were very open i n sharing their experiences with me. Perhaps another limitation was that the project had just begun, therefore the only experience for both staff and students to draw upon was the present one. Dialogue between myself and project staff was based primarily around objectives and process. Dialogue with the students was much more personal i n nature, sharing the experience o f the moment as well as sharing parts o f themselves and i n turn my sharing part o f myself.  The school itself was modest i n its facilities with 8 classrooms, a kitchen and 2 bathrooms. The staff consisted o f the Diretora (principal), approximately 7 teachers and Capoeira instructor Professor Gordo. However, only Diretora Matilde and Professor Gordo were directly involved in the project. Professor Gordo was hired by the Department o f Education for the Projeto Dancas Populares. H i s primary responsibility was teaching capoeira twice a week. The public school system in Recife divides the school day into 2 or 3 sessions. Some students have classes i n the morning, some in the afternoon and some in the evening. D o m Bosco had two groups, the morning and the afternoon. A hot lunch donated by a local restaurant was provided for both groups daily.  The project was set up so that both groups had the option to participate. Professor Gordo went to D o m Bosco for approximately three hours (including the lunch hour) twice a week, once for the morning session and once for the afternoon session. Participation i n the project can be described as mandatory with the option not to participate. The class was integrated into the curriculum, but i f a student did not want to participate their choice was respected and they would do another activity. I began my visits to Colegio D o m Bosco at the end o f November o f 1997. In the first classes that I observed there were 7 students participating in the morning session and 8 i n the afternoon session. B y the end o f M a r c h o f 1998 participation had increased to 16students i n the morning and 19 i n the afternoon.  Many o f the students at D o m Bosco resided i n a nearby favela, Roda de Fogo. M a n y o f them were facing social problems, primarily poverty, and some alcoholism i n the family and abuse. Most o f the students who participated i n the capoeira classes were  60  male. Both the Diretora and Prof. Gordo attributed this to either resistance from a parent and/or to the art still being perceived as 'masculine'. The majority o f participants were non-white (see appendix A for profile o f students).  Attitudes towards the project from the students who participated were very positive. There was a sense o f enjoyment i n the physical activity and interest in Professor Gordo's stories o f the history, practice and social relevance o f capoeira. It was easy to see that the children liked Gordo and he was good at keeping them interested by his ability to tell interesting stories. One o f the principle goals expressed by both the Diretora and Prof. Gordo was o f empowerment for the children. The hope was that through learning capoeira the children would come to feel a sense o f accomplishment and increased self-worth. The idea was that this was to be achieved not only by a sense o f physical accomplishment but also in learning about an art form that played an important part i n the history and psychology o f their social reality.  A s Rahman (1993:207) and others have suggested one o f the essential elements for achieving empowerment is affinity with a situation or a sense o f collective identity. In observing the classes and the students' responses, there seemed to have been an affinity for several students to capoeira as an Afro-Brazilian art form. Diretora Matilde expressed her point o f view as introducing capoeira "as a potential for the children to explore their sense o f selves by learning about their culture with a positive role model" (Diretora Matilde, Colegio'Dom Bosco, Recife: 1997).  In terms o f the project objectives, the program was too young at that time for the staff to evaluate its accomplishments i n the longer term. Both staff members (here I refer to the Diretora and Professor) agreed that the project was having a positive short-term effect, their prediction being that the longer term would yield increasingly positive results. One o f the goals for the longer term was to give the participants opportunities to perform as a group i n local events and festivals.  61  B e l o w is a list o f the qualitative results o f the project as expressed by Diretora Matilde i n M a r c h o f 1998: o  Empowerment  ©  A n overall improvement i n psychological well being  o  Increased positive attitude toward school  «  Pride i n abilities / Desire to share new skills with others  4.4.2 Centro de Educacao e Cultura Darue Malungo The 'Centre o f Education and Culture Darue Malungo' was established in 1988 under the original name o f Centro de A p o i o a Comunidade Carente Darue Malungo (Centre o f Assistance to the Destitute Community Darue Malungo). It is located i n the favela known as Chao de Estrelas in bairro Campina do Barreto.  Darue Malungo was borne as an initiative o f the community itself. The centre was started by local residents Mestre M e i a Noite and V i l m a (the current Director/coordinator) i n an abandoned plot i n Chao de Estrelas. The construction o f the centre was a community-based effort. The building itself has been significantly improved over the years according to staff. It now has a kitchen, television room, 4 classrooms, 2 bathrooms, small woodworking shop, a patio and a garden. Mestre M e i a Noite described Darue Malungo as "a focus o f cultural resistance acting as a centre o f popular education and conscientizacao o f Afro-Pernambucano cultural expressions" (Mestre M e i a Noite, Darue Malungo; 1997). Darue Malungo is open to children and youth between the ages o f 3 and 18 Monday to Saturday 7am to 5pm. C o ordinator o f Darue Malungo, V i l m a , quoted that on average 100 children and youth come through the centre daily (Darue Malungo; 1997).  The following is a list o f the main services offered by Darue Malungo: »  Meals  *  Various educational activities (including reading, writing, arithmetic) 62  ©  Bumba -meu-boi  •  Capoeira  © Frevo •  Ciranda  •  Reggae  © Maracatu •  Remunerative activities (such as building instruments for sale, performances)  Mestre M e i a Noite expressed that their hope when creating Darue Malungo was that it would provide a positive experience o f education through a popular approach that focuses on cultural expressions that the community would identify with. The centre was not created to take the place o f the state's formal system, but to augment it (Mestre M e i a Noite, Recife: 1997).  I visited Darue Malungo approximately once every two weeks for a period o f 5 months. During my first visit to Darue Malungo, I met Mestre M e i a Noite, discussed m y research with h i m and requested to visit and watch his capoeira class on the days o f m y visits. A s this was acceptable to him, I made a point o f going during his class time. In the classes that I visited there were usually between 15 and 2 0 children and youth participating, with a m i x o f male and female ranging i n age between 5 and 18. Mestre M e i a Noite co-ordinates all o f the 'cultural' classes and taught many o f them. There were various volunteers at Darue Malungo who contributed to all aspects o f the centre; all were local residents.  A n important element expressed by Mestre M e i a Noite was that Darue Malungo be conceived o f as a 'movimento negro' (black movement). A s is the case i n many favelas i n Recife, most o f the residents o f Chao de Estrellas were o f Afro-Brazilian classification. Generally speaking, 'Afro-Brazilian' signifies people o f color including all phenotypic categories such as moreno, pardo, negro, mulatto, caboclo, sarara - excluding white. Mestre M e i a Noite expressed that as a movimento negro. Darue Malungo was to be a space o f positive values o f Afro-Brazilian identity where positive self-image and a sense 63  of collective identity would be nurtured. Mestre M e i a Noite had a painting o f a tree with its roots exposed on the wall o f the terrace where he taught his classes, he often made reference to the importance o f this image during his classes. He expressed this image as signifying the need to nourish everything that grows with food, with love and with knowledge o f the origins o f all things. He applied this to capoeira, discussing the importance o f learning about all aspects o f the art and exploring the relevance it has i n the lives o f those who are a part o f it both past and present.  Darue Malungo has been very successful i n fulfilling many o f its objectives. In the decade that the centre has been open, Mestre M e i a Noite and V i l m a articulated that they have witnessed positive changes i n many children and youth and suggest that there has been a positive effect on the community as a whole. Some o f the qualitative results for individual participants being (Darue Malungo: 1998): o  Empowerment  e  Positive identification as Afro-Brazilians  o  Community mobilization (as a 'movemento negro')  o  A n increase i n commitment to the concept o f education  o  A decreased tendency o f the children and youth toward marginal activities  o  Opportunities for 'employment' as performers and crafts-people  The centre itself has also been very successful i n receiving recognition for its work including the abilities o f the children and youth. Darue Malungo is frequently contracted by both public and private agencies for cultural performances and workshops and is also renowned for producing quality instruments that are sold to some very well known local artists. These aspects are also very significant in the successes o f Darue Malungo, encouraging the children and youth to learn skills that are valued by the broader community.  64  4.5 A Focus on ASSOCAPE - Association of Capoeiras of Pernambuco The organization A S S O C A P E was my primary focus during my stay in Recife. Mestre Duwalle, the President o f A S S O C A P E , accepted me as both his student and as researcher. M y methodology was primarily participant observation, dialogue, and informal interviews.  4.5.1 ASSOCAPE: Background A S S O C A P E was established i n 1993 as an initiative o f various mestres o f Recife to unite capoeira groups acting independently. The association's first President was Mestre Piraja (Macondes Luis), who today is one o f Recife's oldest and most respected Mestres. A S S O C A P E is located i n the Casa da Cultura de Pernambuco, i n the bairro o f Sao Jose. According to Mestre Piraja, he and others conceived the idea as a new instrument of'battle' against racial and social discrimination with the objective of education and community building (Mestre Piraja, Recife: 1997).  Figure 12. Mestre Piraja (holding microphone)  (To the right o f Mestre Piraja is Mestre Carasco)  65  A S S O C A P E is a non-profit association whose mandate is as follows, " T o maintain and teach theories, philosophy, history and practice o f the art o f capoeira. To publish texts, books, to conduct seminars, discuss potential governmental and non-governmental projects related to the art o f capoeira, and to continue to promote discussions o f the cultural and social importance o f the practice o f capoeira i n the State, the Country and the W o r l d " (Estatuto A S S O C A P E , 1993). The financial maintenance o f the association as described in Article 5 o f the Statute is as follows (Ibid): •  Membership fees  ©  Presentations by the association  •  Classes and workshops  o  Donations  The administrative bodies and their roles are listed below (Estatuto: A S S O C A P E , 1993): o  Executive Council (see below)  o  Director o f Events - coordinate and promote all events  •  Accessory to Culture and Political Culture- discuss cultural and political-cultural projects, create partnerships with government or non-government organizations  «  Fiscal Council - to verify budgets and balances to present to the general assembly  «  General Assembly - (made up o f all 'graduated' members, meaning from 'professor' to 'mestrisimo') meets every month on the first Friday o f the month to discuss projects and issues o f the association.  The administration o f the association is as follows (Estatuto: A S S O C A P E , 1993): •  President (all positions elected by members)  •  Vice President  o  Secretary  »  Treasurer  The term o f administration is two years. In 1997/1998 the acting President was Mestre Duwalle, the V i c e President was Mestre Rubinho, the Secretary was Petronio and the Treasurer was Mestre Carasco. 66  A l l decisions are made based on the highest number o f votes. Remuneration is for the sole purpose o f the Association and not for personal gain. A n y capoeira group or individual can become a member o f A S S O C A P E . There is a monthly membership fee, however a sliding scale is applied ranging from R$0 - R$20 with an honor system. A l l members are expected to participate i n as many events o f the association as possible.  In 1997/98 there were 14 capoeira groups affiliated with A S S O C A P E with a total membership o f approximately 250. The following is an approximate profile o f the association's members.  T a b l e 5. A S S O C A P E M e m b e r s h i p  Afro-Brazilian  Gender %  Age % 0-10  10-30  Above 30  Male  Female  Origin %  10  65.  25  70  30  80  (Secretary-Petronio, A S S O C A P E , 1998)  A s members were from different groups and from various localities, Mestre Duwalle hosted an open Roda (game) every Friday for members as well as visitors. The location o f A S S O C A P E was ideal for exposure of the association. A s previously mentioned it is located i n the Casa de Cultura (House o f Culture) i n the centre o f Recife. The Casa da Cultura was well visited by both locals and tourists. O n Friday evenings, during the open rodas, there were usually between 20 and 50 spectators.  67  Figure 13. Friday Roda at Casa da Cultura  A t the end o f each roda on the Fridays, Mestre Duwalle would also talk about the philosophy and upcoming events o f A S S O C A P E . Following this was a question and discussion period, where members or spectators could enter into a dialogue around all aspects o f the art. A s well as his role as President o f A S S O C A P E , Mestre Duwalle also had his capoeira group, Capoeira Brasileira (one o f the 14 member groups o f A S S O C A P E ) . His classes were held at the same location, the Casa da Cultura on Tuesday and Thursday evenings.  4.5.2 Observations from the field A s I mentioned previously, Mestre Duwalle gave me the opportunity to be a visiting student o f capoeira during the course o f my field research. Mestre Duwalle had 19 committed students at the time, 4 who were "graduados" (level o f instructor and higher). A l l 4 graduados were male. 11 o f his students were male and 8 were female. Mestre Duwalle, the secretary Petronio (who was present at every class and event), and the students were extremely welcoming which allowed for the formation o f friendships. I 68  believe that by participating in the classes (and not relying solely on observation and a more formal type o f dialogue) that I was able to get to know some o f the more personal experiences o f some o f the other students in relation to capoeira and various aspects o f their social reality.  For some o f the students, capoeira was primarily a sport, albeit chosen over others for being 'an Afro-Brazilian expression'. For others it was a way o f life, particularly for those at higher levels o f 'graduacao'. The following table provides a brief profile o f the 4 aluno's (student's) graduado's o f Grupo Capoeira Brasileira:  Table 6. Profile of Graduados of Grupo Capoeira Brasileira  Classification and  Age  Years of formal  Bairro  Afro-Brazilian Origin  education  name of graduado Contra Mestre Indio  26  4  Piedade*  Yes  Professor Capado  23  5  Campina do Barreto*  Yes  Professor Trilha  24  7  Imbura  Yes  Instrutor Chorao  20  3  Brigadeira*  Yes  * indicates residence i n a favela  Some commonalities between the 4 graduado's were: •  Described capoeira (and A S S O C A P E ) as a movimento negro  •  Described capoeira as a tool for examining the world critically (with an AfroBrazilian perspective)  •  Described capoeira as having significantly changed their lives  •  Described capoeira as a way o f life (and defined themselves by capoeira)  •  Referred to capoeira as their 'education'  69  Figure 14. Mestre Duwalle and Professor Capado  M y interviews and dialogue with students was primarily with those who were o f the group Capoeira Brasileira. However, the mestres that I interviewed and dialogued with were from various groups, all members o f A S S O C A P E . There were no female graduadas i n A S S O C A P E to date. The following table provides a brief profde of the 9 mestres interviewed:  Table 7. Profile of the 9 Mestres Interviewed Mestre  Mestre Piraja  Group  Bairro  Age  Years of  Afro-Brazilian  Capoeira  Origin  58  40  Yes  39  29  Yes  Yes  (no longer  Morro da  teaching)  Conceicao  Capoeira  Campina do  Brasileira  Barreto  Birimbao  Maranguape  27  17  Casa Amarela  33  21  Paulista  28  15  Senzala  Macaxeira  41  22  Quilombo  Apipocos  32  21  Yes  Mestre Spinella  Leao do Norte  Peixinhos  38  26  Yes  Mestre Rubinho  C. Brasileira  Mustardinha  43  28  Yes  Mestre Duwalle  Mestre Coloral  Dorado Mestre Russo Mestre Carasco  Capoeira Vale  Yes  Tudo Mestre Cancao Mestre Piu  70  Perhaps the most challenging aspect o f any field research is presenting the stories of those involved. In this section I attempt to present the stories o f these individuals i n a manner that reflects their voices as much as possible. Rather than presenting every individual's answer to ever posed question, I have decided to present quotes and stories organized around themes valid to this research. A l s o , due to the nature o f my approach, I learned as much, i f not more, from spending time with these members o f A S S O C A P E , engaging in informal dialogue and participating i n the association's events.  Capoeira and Socialization  "Capoeira teaches you to live inside and outside o f the ring, to express confrontation and resolution - i n order to survive in society one has to be clever, mandingueiro, sensitive, perceptive and self-aware " (transcribed from a conversation with Mestre Piraja o f Recife, 1997). The notion o f linking the world o f capoeira to social reality was expressed by many members. Firstly, was the notion that an exchange exists between learning and experience that occurs inside the ring with that outside o f the ring. This link seemed to be partly about exploring strategies for survival i n both contexts. For example, some o f the strategies discussed were, learning to critically examine situations and people and knowing h o w to respond and act. I believe that this reflects Paulo Freire's concept o f conscentizacao, the above quote is but one illustration. Secondly, were the many stories o f how capoeira became an agent for positive change i n individual's lives. "When I was growing up, my father abandoned the family while I was still a baby and so my mother raised myself and two brothers i n a shack i n Campina. There were a lot o f drugs and other problems I could have explored. I saw M . Duwalle teaching capoeira for the first time when I was 8 years old and I wanted to j o i n right away. W e didn't have any money to pay him, but he let me train with h i m anyway. Learning capoeira as a child gave me confidence and made me value my body and my mind. Capoeira has taken me on a very positive path, it has given me a community o f friends and has helped me to understand myself as an Afro-Brazilian. most important things i n my life." (Professor Capado, 1998).  71  It is one o f the  Capoeira and Afro-Brazilian Identity "Capoeira is the manifestation o f Afro-Brazilian culture, it is an instrument o f protest against racism and all discrimination. A s capoeiristas we are proud o f our arts history, for us it is a celebration o f liberation. "(Mestre Duwalle, 1997). Many o f the capoeristas that I spoke with described capoeira as a movimento negro. Defining capoeira as 'Afro-Brazilian' is almost always the first and most important characteristic cited i n any discussion o f the art by its practitioners. A s the quote above illustrates, there is a strong sense o f community between capoeiristas, a sense o f a shared experience and struggle - two important aspects o f any social movement. "When I started capoeira I was 13 years old. I was getting to that age where you start to understand the world around you a little more. I started to really see the discrimination towards black people. I think that I found capoeira (or it found me) at the perfect time. I was proud to be learning an art that was created by African slaves." (Mestre Carasco, 1998).  Capoeira as Non-formal Education "Capoeira is discipline. Y o u learn to lose your arrogance, to be humble and to respect others." (Mestre P i u , 1998). A l l members that I spoke with described capoeira as a form o f education. The most common reference being the role it plays in passing on the history o f a people and the place that this history has i n contemporary social reality. "The capoeira master is an educator. H e or she has to have life experience and has to be reflective and responsible so as not to lead his students i n the wrong direction" (Mestre Cancao, 1998). "The capoeira master is like a father (mother), he has to take responsibility for his actions and his students, he has to know how to resolve problems and he has to always be there for his students" (Mestre Barrao, 2000).  A S S O C A P E has also participated in many public events including demonstrations, workshops and lectures. One such event that I was able to attend was a  72  public roda followed by a talk by Mestre Duwalle on the 20 o f November, National D a y of Black Consciousness (the anniversary o f the death o f Rei Zumbi).  Figures 15,16 and 17. Roda on the National Day of Black Consciousness  73  In the same week, Mestre Duwalle was asked to be a panelist i n a discussion sponsored by a local newspaper "Djumbay - Informativo da communidade negra pernambucana" on "Black Realities". Such events are very important to the members o f A S S O C A P E . Several members expressed the need to increase participation i n public events, thus increasing exposure o f the work o f A S S O C A P E to the broader community.  Capoeira and Community Processes  According to Hanchard, "Afro-Brazilians increasingly identify the need to use cultural practice and production as organizing principles against racial oppression, and as tools for constructing and enacting Afro-Brazilian identities. In many cases, these organizations are successful attempts at creating both spaces for and values o f AfroBrazilian identity and community" (Hanchard, 1999:76).  " A S S O C A P E has been successful i n uniting capoeiristas i n Recife. It is important for us to organize and unite to be a stronger force i n claiming a positive space i n our society. Believe it or not some still refer to us, capoeiristas, as malandros (Mestre Coloral, 1997).  "Capoeira is an excellent tool for working with youth from 'comunidades carentes' (destitute communities). M y academy is i n Casa Amarela i n an invasao (invasion). The community is poor as are most o f my students. M y role is not only as a 'sports' teacher, it is much more than that. Capoeira not only gives my students exercise, they learn to feel good about themselves, they learn to be respectful o f each other, they learn about our history, and they feel they belong to something" (Mestre Russo, 1998).  A S S O C A P E has been successful i n facilitating acceptance o f capoeira as a 'valid' art form. In turn, this has validated the role o f teachers o f the art. M a n y o f the graduados expressed the need for increasing the possibilities o f 'making their living' as capoeiristas  74  (as teachers, performers and leaders). Some mestres expressed that the opportunity to do so is becoming more o f a reality and that A S S O C A P E has been a part o f this process.  4.6 Summary Table 8. Summary of Projeto Dancas Populares, Centro de Educacao e Cultura Darue Malungo and ASSOCAPE  Organization  Popular Culture  Movimento Negro  Type of Institution  Target group  Projeto Dancas Populares  Yes  No  Government  L o c a l school children  Centro de Educacao e Cultura Darue Malungo  Yes  Yes  C.B.O.  Local Community  Associacao de Capoeiras de Pernambuco  Yes  Yes  Grassroots  Various Communities  Qualitative Results Centro de Educacao e Cultura Darue Malungo  Projeto Dancas Populares  Associacao de Capoeiras de Pernambuco  •  Empowerment  •  Empowerment  •  Empowerment  •  A n overall improvement in psychological w e l l being  •  Positive identification as Afro-Brazilians  •  Positive identification as Afro Brazilians  •  Community mobilization (as a 'movemento negro') A n increase in commitment to the concept o f education A decreased tendency o f the children and youth toward marginal activities Fosters employment opportunities for youth  •  Qualitative life changes of individuals Non-formal education Social Learning  • •  Increased positive attitude toward school Pride in abilities / Desire to share new skills with others  •  •  •  75  • • •  Community mobilization  5. Conclusions and Recommendations  5.1 Introduction This section draws conclusions regarding the relationship o f the art o f capoeira to development processes and approaches including community mobilization, empowerment, social learning and non-formal education. The research has drawn on the experience o f three separate organizations and their diverse approaches i n order to examine qualitative changes i n participant's lives. Statements o f participants, staff, organizers and leaders o f the three organizations, as well as m y own observations indicate there is a basis from which to view the art o f capoeira as a useful tool o f 'development'. The following sections w i l l summarize this premise and w i l l also explore areas for further research.  5.2 Capoeira in Recife: Achievements and Alternatives Overall, participants o f the three organizations expressed that their organization was successfully in achieving their respective mandates. However, areas for improvement were also discussed. This section w i l l summarize achievements and alternatives as expressed i n each context, followed by a brief discussion o f the links between the theoretical concepts presented in this thesis and popular arts (capoeira).  Projeto Dancas Populares is an example of a government agency recognizing the validity o f popular culture as a tool for learning and for positive socialization. From the perspective o f the two staff directly involved i n the project, Projeto Dancas Populares  76  was having a positive overall effect on the school and on individual participants. One concern was the low level o f participation by girls compared to that o f boys. There was expressed interest by both staff members i n exploring ways i n which to encourage the participation o f girls. Another area o f interest expressed by Professor Gordo was further integration o f capoeira and other popular expressions into school curriculum.  Centro de Educacao e Cultura Darue Malungo is an example of a community based initiative to offer educational and cultural programs to children and youth o f the local community. Darue Malungo has been very successful i n the delivery o f its programs. It has also succeeded in establishing links with government agencies, N . G . O . ' s and other C.B.O.'s. Such linkages have created opportunities for the children and youth to share their skills, talents and knowledge. According to staff, this further contributes to empowerment o f the participants and i n some cases has created new productive avenues for the youth. Regarding future directions o f their organization, staff expressed the importance o f maintaining and creating new linkages with other organizations, stressing the importance o f opportunities to share resources and experience with other organizations working i n similar situations. A t the time that this research was carried out, Darue Malungo had established ties with two N . G . O . ' s (Centro de Articulacao Retome sua V i d a and Projeto Pe no Chau) as well as with the government agency Conselho Estadual de Crianca e Adolescent (State Council o f Children and Adolescentes).  Associacao de Capoeiras de Pernambuco is an example o f successful organization at the grassroots. In Mestre Duwalle's words, " A S S O C A P E has been successful i n developing its work in various areas. In elevating the theory o f education and learning o f capoeira as a valuable pedagogical, artistic and cultural resource. In validating the Mestre o f Capoeira as a transmitter and teacher o f culture and knowledge. W e , A S S O C A P E , believe that we are contributing to the cultivation o f values and ethics based in respect and freedom for all members o f society. A S S O C A P E also encourages the capoeirista i n the development o f his/her character, dignity and personal valorization" (Mestre Duwalle, Recife: 1998).  77  Some areas that were expressed by members o f A S S O C A P E as areas o f interest for future directions were: o  To become more involved in working with 'comunidades carentes' (destitute communities)  •  Create linkages with different organizations such as universities, schools, government organizations andN.G.O.'s.  ©  Expand the Association to include more groups i n Recife in order to create more unity within the capoeira community, and to have a stronger political position.  ©  Continually explore new avenues through which to make their work known to the broader community.  ©  Encourage participation by women, and encourage female members i n their journeys to higher levels of'graduacao'.  Popular Arts and Community Mobilization: In the second chapter, the definition o f community mobilization was presented as people engaged in activities that have a predominantly social or collective objective. O f the three organizations presented i n chapter 4, A S S O C A P E , i n particular, fits this definition. Rahman suggests that for marginalized (oppressed) people to be mobilized for economic and social development, they have to be mobilized for resistance o f exploitation (1993:21). A S S O C A P E can be seen as an example o f the political force o f capoeiristas, organizing with a collective objective.  A s discussed i n chapter 4, A S S O C A P E seeks to elevate the social, economic and psychological well being o f its members. The association facilitates changing the (historically negative) perception o f capoeira i n the broader community. A l s o , one o f its prinicipal objectives is to combat discrimination and encourage values o f acceptance and respect. Centro de Cultura e Educacao Darue Malungo is another example o f 'mobilizing for resistance against exploitation'. Darue Malungo identifies itself as a 'movimento negro' and as a focus of'cultural resistance'.  78  Empowerment Empowerment was expressed as a qualitative outcome i n all three organizations studied. In Projeto Dancas Populares, empowerment was witnessed at the level o f the individual. In Centro de Cultura e Educacao Darue Malungo and A S S O C A P E , both individual and collective empowerment were identified. Rahman presents three qualitative elements o f empowerment which are relevant to all three organizations: organization under the control o f the underprivileged, self-awareness o f the disadvantaged derived from collective self-inquiry and reflection o f one's social environment, and self-reliance, which is strengthened by collective identity (1993:207).  Social Learning and Non-Formal Education Central to social learning theory is dialogue, Paulo Freire's 'dialogical theory o f action' involves subjects who meet to name the world in order to transform it. Chapter 4 presented the notion o f the game o f capoeira as a 'dialogue' where each player expresses his/her own creativity and personality (Almeida, 186:153). More specifically, A S S O C A P E exposes discrimination i n the social context o f its members (thereby 'naming the world') and attempts to reach the broader community (through public demonstrations, lectures etc), thus attempting to validate popular communication and local knowledge.  Furthermore, according to Freire, i n order to surmount the situation o f oppression, people must first critically recognize its causes (1970:29). The art o f capoeira tells stories o f slave culture i n Brazil, making reference to social, economic and psychological implications i n the context o f the past and present. A l s o , i n the game o f capoeira, the players explore strategies o f domination and liberation. For many players, capoeira represents the spirit o f non-cooperation with oppression and o f liberation.  In making a case for the importance o f non-formal education, Illich suggests that most learning is the result o f unhampered participation i n a meaningful setting. The art  79  of capoeira presents many examples o f non-formal learning. The oral traditions o f capoeira are particularly significant. The songs o f capoeira are an important vehicle for transmitting history, philosophy and social criticism.  Finally, as suggested by Beltrao (1980:6), dominant culture limits the effects o f more direct communication and it does not consider the socio-economic or cultural situation o f the community. Therefore it is essential to validate vehicles o f communication o f the popular classes as this is where their ideas, reality and experiences are expressed. Capoeira is but one example.  80  5.3 Popular Arts: Significance for Development Often in development work, one o f the initial challenges lies i n defining the 'community' and organizing individuals around the need or needs not met. A s history and experience have shown, there are many legitimate strategies that have been explored for this purpose. However, i n some cases one could say that there have been lost opportunities. When culture is recognized as a fundamental consideration o f development processes, development workers and planners are able to discover new modes o f communication with marginalized groups. A s this study has illustrated, modes o f organization may already exist outside o f conventional or dominant paradigms and they need to be recognized as 'communities'.  The concept o f local knowledge is also fundamental to this discussion. In validating such modes o f organization, one is also validating local experience, knowledge and communication. A s Rahman (1993:92) articulates i n his discussion o f participatory action research, returning to the people the legitimacy o f the knowledge they are capable of producing and their right to use this knowledge is considered by P A R to be fundamental in the promotion o f its ideology o f social transformation. This study has attempted to illustrate that associations and organizations based i n culture and created around a popular art (such as capoeira) can act as a link between popular groups and dominant groups. In this context such groups have successfully fulfilled the initial stages o f the community development process; they have organized themselves. According to Professor Luis De L a M o r a (Recife, 1997), o f U F P E (Federal University o f Pernambuco) there are three principles common to social movements: ©  The principle o f Identity (solidarity/unity)  ©  The principle o f Opposition (a need not met)  •  The principle o f Viability  This study has shown that popular arts can be a medium where such organization occurs organically and at the grassroots. It has also shown that popular arts may hold some o f the keys to access local knowledge, becoming effective tools for 'education' and 'communication' in development. 81  5.4 Areas for Further Research  The experience o f the three organizations discussed illustrates the effective role that cultural manifestations can play i n organizing individuals and i n facilitating change at the level o f the individual, the local community and at the broader cornmunity. A qualitative analysis has shown that empowerment is a key outcome o f all three organizations and that they encourage several o f the development processes that this thesis has explored.  Perhaps the biggest gap i n this research is the question o f gender. The question o f women's role i n capoeira was addressed by all three organizations to different extents. It was voiced as a significant concern by A S S O C A P E i n particular. Historically, capoeira was strictly male. I have found no research that has studied when or i n what context women started to emerge as capoeiristas, and though there are women mestres today, they were not to be found i n Recife. F r o m my dialogue with women students and my observations, the 'female capoeirista' does not yet seem to have a clearly defined space i n the world o f capoeira (I am speaking i n the context o f Recife only). Within capoeira there exist characteristics o f machismo which make it a more challenging and complex environment for women. This is an area that should draw much attention i n the future as participation by women is increasing.  Another area for further exploration is suggested by the expressed interest i n creating linkages with other organizations. It would be useful to investigate how such linkages work and what role they could fulfill i n each organization. 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Manaus: Sonopress.  90  Appendix A : Profile of Participants of Projeto Dancas Populares  Participants Group A Jackson Ana Andre Mauro Christian Jane Hugo Fernanda Davide Nivaldo Romulo Andrea Luis Teresa Marquinho Daniel  Sex  Age  Years of School  Bairro  M F M M M F M F M M M F M F M M  7  2  6  1  rf Rf Rf Rf Jsp Rf Rf Rf Rf Jsp Rf Rf Rf Jsp Rf Rf  9  3  11  2  11  4  10  3  9  2  10  4  9  2  9  2  9  2  11  4  12  6  8  3  6  1  7  2  Age  Years of School  Bairro  Rf Rf Jsp Rf Jsp Rf Rf Rf Rf Rf Jsp Rf Rf Rf Rf Rf Rf Jsp Jsp  *Rf: Roda de Fogo Jsp: Jardim Sao Paulo  Participants Clroup B Sandro George Louisa Valdinho Patricia Jeffinho Paula Mario Marcos Joao Lourdes Pedro Isabel Marcos Janaina Martin Petruncio Romualdo Cezinho  Sex  M M F M F M F M M M F M F M F M M M M  6  1  11  5  7  2  12  6  12  5  6  1  8  2  9  2  8  2  10  4  6  1  9  3  8  2  11 10  4 4  7  2  9  4  11  5  7  3  91  Appendix B: Interview Guide for Unstructured Interviews  When and how did you first become involved with capoeira? What is your current level? Are you teaching presently? I f so, where? (If you are teaching) could you talk about the community that you teach in? What role do you see capoeira having in your community? Have you applied capoeira to 'community' type of work? If so, how? A n d what were/are the results? H o w long have you been a member o f A S S O C A P E ? What is your vision o f the role and mandate o f A S S O C A P E ? H o w successful do you feel A S S O C A P E has been in fulfilling this mandate? Can you describe the role capoeira has in your life? Is there a relationship between what happens in the roda and life outside o f the roda? If so, how would you describe this relationship? What role does capoeira have in Brazilian society?  92  


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