|Título||The gauchos : male culture and identity in the pampas
Leal, Ondina Maria Fachel
|Instituição||University of California. Graduate Division.|
Gaucho : Identidade cultural : Rio Grande do Sul : Argentina : Uruguai
|Abstract||The Gauchos, horsemen and ranch workers on the pampas of South America, constitute a specific masculine, equestrian culture glorifying the values honor, freedom, righteousness, bravery and manliness. This ethnography documents the self-reflexive construction of identity among gauchos of the border region between Spanish speaking Uruguay and Portuguese speaking Brazil. I analyze gaucho identity as they themselves construct and celebrate it; as it encompasses interlocking leveis of gender, class, occupation, geographical setting and ethnic origin; and as it is presented and used by the media, the urban public and the nation states. Most gauchos live and work, segregated from women, on cattie ranches (estâncias). To this quintessentially male group, gender and culture are inseparable; folklore, ethos and practices are linked to a social construction of manhood. Gauchos shape and present their identity with cockfights; tales, jokes and songs in the storytelling event; the practices of bestiality and suicide. In the gaucho universe of symbols, these are central discourses. In these discourses, gauchos use the categories humanity and animality, nature and culture to generate a group notion of power and self, envisioning themselves as supra-natural centaurs, half man, half horse. The segregation of male and female space is a principal aspect of the gaucho's universe: male avoidance of women parallels female seduction of men. A women's sphere counters male gaucho culture: women live in small settlements bordering estancias; healing and magic, especially love magic, pertain to women. Framing analyses of these symbolic discourses is an overview of gaucho pastoral society, an analysis of labor relations on the estâncias, and an appraisal of the relationship between the gaucho and national society. Gaucho culture in this rural border region transcends both linguistic and national frontiers. Representations of gaucho culture, generated by and for gauchos themselves, are appropriated by the media and consumed by urbanites and nation states. While the gaucho is a national symbol in both nations (and in neighboring Argentina), these nations neglect the social needs of gauchos. To national societies, representations of the gaucho have become more important than the living man himself.
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