Translocality and Afro-Brazilian Imaginaries in Globalised Capoeira

Abstract

Afro-Brazilian capoeira exemplifies how communal practices connect multilocally. This article investigates how the fight-game-art forms a translocal culture, uniting practitioners in diverse localities, and connects them to a transnationally created Black Atlantic heritage. The multi-sited ethnographic approach focuses mostly on Salvador, Northeastern Brazil, where the purity of Afro-Brazilian traditions raises polemic. Through critical observation of capoeira’s dual development in Brazil, transnationality is asserted as a historical continuity in capoeira communities’ imaginaries. To grasp how globalised capoeira maintains its connection to Afro-Brazilian history, the analysis of capoeira’s traditionalism is complemented by a description of the formation of capoeira practice in the faraway location of Eastern Finland, where capoeira’s creativity and categorization-resistant, holistic nature remain central. Through the densely historicized tradition of capoeira, minoritarian views on transnational connections, on the colonial encounter, and on the effects of transatlantic slavery are shared in multiple locations.

Keywords: Transnationalism, translocal, multi-sited ethnography, Afro-Brazilian, capoeira
Section
Articles
Published
Jun 26, 2017