Ribeirinho Communities: Identity and Social Cohesion in the Brazilian Amazon

Wednesday, July 16, 2014: 6:45 PM
Room: Booth 54
Oral Presentation
Raquel SOBRAL SANTOS , USP - Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil
Dan LEVY , University of Coimbra, Portugal
This article aims to observe the general processes of identity construction and social cohesion of the ribeirinho communities of Combu Island, an Environmental Protection Area, located on the left bank of the  Guamá River, near the city of Belém, in the Brazilian Amazon Forest. These populations are concentrated along the rivers due to the lack of means of rail and road transport, using as a primary means of travel inland waterway vessels. In this sense, they are considered part of the so called ribeirinho communities, descendants of indigenous people and also the region of northeastern migrants coming from the great drought in the Northeast in the late eighteen century and large integration projects in the Amazon from the twentieth century. This indicates that the interaction between ethnicity and multiculturalism is that this migratory movement qualify as social construct, in other words, individuals are not the region's natural, but are adapted to the conditions and integrate historical, social and cultural inheritances with indigenous, colonial and migratory people. Thus, we propose to present some reflections on identity and social cohesion present in this part of the population of the Brazilian Amazon. Ribeirinho Communities are a blend of simplicity and complexity and based on social characteristics and demographic dynamics, we present the way of life of these different communities, through the relationship between territory and identity. The intention of this paper is to open a range of new interpretive possibilities on these communities, with no claim rule out preterit analysis or establish universal truths.