Brito, Celso de. “Berimbau’s ‘use value’ and ‘exchange value’: Production and consumption as symbols of freedom in contemporary global Capoeira Angola”. in: Vibrant – Virtual Brazilian Anthropology, v. 9, n. 2. July to December 2012. Brasília, ABA. Available at http://www.vibrant.org.br/issues/v9n2/celso-de-brito-berimbaus-use-value-and-exchange-value/
This article approaches the historical transformations surrounding the use of the berimbau – a musical instrument of African origin, which became Capoeira’s greatest symbol – and the relation between this process with the history of the Afro-Brazilian population. In the perspective of the Anthropology of Economics, the berimbau is analyzed from the beginnings of its presence in Brazil taking into account the relation between production and consumption, leading to the examination of its insertion in the international market. The argumentation is based on data collected between 2008 and 2010 in the Brazilian cities of Curitiba and Salvador; in the French cities of Lyon, Grenoble and Montelimar; and in the Spanish city of Santiago de Compostela. Specialized websites were also used as reference. The article suggests that the berimbau would symbolize the different meanings of freedom corresponding to the demands of the Afro-Brazilian population in several historical contexts, either as a religious fetish, as a working tool or even as merchandise. It is also suggested that the search for freedom in the Afro-Brazilian social segment is still in course nowadays, though inserted in the context of the international market in which the berimbau and the practice of Capoeira Angola that associates with it become merchandises, and, as such, a means of acquiring a specific type of freedom: the freedom of consumption.
Keywords: Berimbau – Capoeira – Consumption – Freedomsumption – Freedom