Ethnogenesis of a Brazilian Indigenous Community: A Behavior Analytic Interpretation

Fabio Henrique Baia, Sônia Maria Mello Neves, Júlio Cézar dos Reis Almeida Filho, Ivaldo Ferreira de Melo Junior, Anna Carolina Gonçalves Souza, Isabella Guimarães Lemes


Ethnogenesis is a process of historic construction from interethnic interactions that originate new social categories, in other words, that form groups that distinguish from the rest of society. In Brazil, after the Constitution of 1988, different groups used their ethnogenesis to obtain recognition of their indigenous condition. One of these groups is the Tapuios do Carretão, a community in Brazil’s centralwest region inhabited by descendants of indigenous, black, and white people, who speak Portuguese and are recognized by the Brazilian government as an indigenous group. The goal of this paper was to reconstruct an ethnogenesis of the Tapuios indigenous group from a Behavior Analysis perspective, thus improving our comprehension of this group’s cultural practices by analyzing the processes that selected them. Behavior-analytical concepts would allow us to further understand changes in cultural practices that occurred due to colonization. Finally, we discuss the importance of laws in planning and changing cultures. For Brazilian indigenous groups, consequences such as the right to land and other benefits had an important role in encouraging members of indigenous communities to seek recognition of their condition.


Cultural Practices, Metacontingency, Macrocontingency, Tapuios do Carretão

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