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Ciência & Saúde Coletiva

On-line version ISSN 1678-4561Print version ISSN 1413-8123


SOUZA, Maximiliano Loiola Ponte de; DESLANDES, Suely Ferreira  and  GARNELO, Luíza. Mythical stories and the construction of the individual: ambiguity of the bodies and indigenous youth in a context of transformation. Ciênc. saúde coletiva [online]. 2011, vol.16, n.10, pp.401-4010. ISSN 1678-4561.

Representations about youth vary historically and culturally. In the Upper Rio Negro, there are indigenous groups with over three centuries of contact with the non-indigenous world. In recent years, male initiation rites were suppressed and formal schooling was introduced. These events led to a redefinition of significance in forms of representation at different stages of life. This work sought to understand the construction of the Indian representation of youth; how they correlate with the other life cycle phases and how they contribute to configuring structured social practices in this social group. Several mythical stories dealing with intergenerational relationships have been reviewed; these were correlated with significant stages of life, with other local narratives, and with data gathered from direct observation. The study concludes that the representations about youth have been configured by the social roles of the initiating/initiated, in a currently contradictory fashion, under a generic and lengthy student phase, deprived of its own sociological markers, prolonging the threshold condition of this phase of life.

Keywords : South American Indians; Youth; Cultural change.

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