Landless Voices -> Sights & Voices -> By categories -> Culture: The Mística

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The Sights and Voices of Dispossession: The Fight for the Land and the Emerging Culture of the MST (The Movement of the Landless Rural Workers of Brazil)


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Emerging culture by categories -> Culture: The Mística 17 resources (Cultural categories devised by & © Else R P Vieira)

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Culture: Rehabilitation of traditions and country culture


Still image from video by Malcolm McNee. Reproduced by permission.


Mística performance, National Week of Brazilian Culture and Agrarian Reform, Rio de Janeiro, 2002.

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Theatre : Organized by Malcolm McNee. Translation © Else R P Vieira.


November 2002

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Compiled by Else R P Vieira. Translation © Thomas Burns.

Mística (lit. ‘mysticism’; ‘mystique’)
'A cultural and political act developed in various rituals, in which the Sem Terra express their readings of lived experiences through poetry, music, mime, painting, art in general. It is also a form of language of the unlettered who express, communicate, and interact in the building of the consciousness of the land struggle' (Fernandes, Bernardo Mançano. Pequeno Vocabulário da Luta pela Terra. Unpublished). For the religious resonances of the MST mfstica see also PASTORAL LAND COMMISSION (CPT) and LIBERATION THEOLOGY. 

The Solemn and the Carnivalesque of Mística Performances
Debates and discussions on cultural policies during the National Week of Brazilian Culture and Agrarian Reform organized by the MST and held om March 19 to 24, 2002 in Rio de Janeiro were opened by performative rituals known in the MST as mística. These performances range from carnavalesque celebrations of popular culture and denunciations of the culture industry to solemn homage to the heroic role of individuals and families in the transformation of Brazilian society. The forum was also a showcase for live music, including forró, puppet theater known as mamulengo, and traditional preparation of foods such as manioc flour and tapioca cakes.
Else R P Vieira

See also: The performative arts of the MST: The symbolic power of bodies in movement.

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