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Dance and Performance Studies
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In Search of Legitimacy
How Outsiders Become Part of the Afro-Brazilian Capoeira Tradition
Lauren Miller Griffith
248 pages, 1 illus., bibliog., index
ISBN 978-1-78533-063-6 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (January 2016)
ISBN 978-1-80073-181-3 $29.95/£23.95 Pb Published (August 2021)
eISBN 978-1-78533-064-3 eBook
“…an important study of the confluence of travel and pilgrimage, race/class/gender issues, embodiment and physical (and emotional) expertise, and the defense of tradition and of ‘lineage’-specific knowledge and identity in the context of globalization and an openness to (tradition-defined) innovation.” · Anthropology Review Database
“Lauren Miller Griffith became a cultural pilgrim and put her own body on the line to produce this distinctive, valuable, and very readable contribution to the anthropological research on capoeira. She provides important insights into broad phenomena like cultural pilgrimage, culture tourism, and globalization.” · Greg Downey, Macquarie University
Every year, countless young adults from affluent, Western nations travel to Brazil to train in capoeira, the dance/martial art form that is one of the most visible strands of the Afro-Brazilian cultural tradition. In Search of Legitimacy explores why “first world” men and women leave behind their jobs, families, and friends to pursue a strenuous training regimen in a historically disparaged and marginalized practice. Using the concept of apprenticeship pilgrimage—studying with a local master at a historical point of origin—the author examines how non-Brazilian capoeiristas learn their art and claim legitimacy while navigating the complexities of wealth disparity, racial discrimination, and cultural appropriation.
Lauren Miller Griffith, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Texas Tech University. She studies performance and tourism in Latin America and the U.S. Specifically, she focuses on the Afro-Brazilian martial art capoeira and how non-Brazilian practitioners use travel to Brazil to increase their legitimacy within this genre. Her work on capoeira has been published in Annals of Tourism Research, the Journal of Sport and Tourism, and Theatre Annual and she is the author of Apprenticeship Pilgrimage (with Jonathan S. Marion), was published in January of 2018 (Lexington Books). Dr. Griffith’s newest work is on the relationship between globalized art forms and locally focused civic engagement.