da Matta, Roberto (1936–)

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da Matta, Roberto (1936–)

Roberto Augusto da Matta (b. Niterói, Rio de Janeiro, 1936) is one of Brazil's foremost cultural anthropologists, specializing in social and cultural anthropology, anthropological theory, rituals and symbols, film, literature, modernization and national identity. Da Matta received his Ph.D. from Harvard University. Among his many books are Carnivals, Rogues, and Heroes: An Interpretation of the Brazilian Dilemma (1991), A Divided World: Apinayé Social Structure (1982), The Brazilian Puzzle (with David Hess, 1995), and, with Elena Soárez, Aguias, Burros e Borboletas: Um Estudo Antropologico do Jogo do Bicho (Eagles, Donkeys, and Butterflies, 1999). Da Matta writes about how to define Brazilian sociability. Of particular note is his theory about the difference between the individual and the person as he explores the fragility of social institutions, including governments, in Brazil. Da Matta has been a professor at the National Museum at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro and is an emeritus professor from the University of Notre Dame. He began to write crônicas in 1995 and a weekly column in the newspaper Estado de São Paulo, in which he chronicles daily events of ordinary Brazilians and how the role of music and literature play foundational roles in their lives. With this column he weaves an optimistic view of society.


Primary Works

A Divided World: Apinayé Social Structure. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1982.

Carnivals, Rogues, and Heroes: An Interpretation of the Brazilian Dilemma. South Bend, IN, and London: University of Notre Dame Press, 1991.

"Estado e Sociedade e a Casa e a Rua." In Revisão do Paraíso: Os Brasileiros e o Estado em 500 anos de História, edited by Mary Del Priori. Rio de Janeiro: Campus, 2000.

"Back to Tristes Tropiques: Notes on Levi-Strauss and Brazil." Brazil 2001: A Revisionary History of Brazilian Literature and Culture. Dartmouth, MA: Center for Portuguese Language and Culture, 2001.

                                 Susan Canty Quinlan