a case study in the State of Maranhão, Brazil
Based on a field research conducted in the State of Maranhão (Brazil), we consider aspects of empowerment prompted by a traditional female leadership existent in several cities of that state. This headship was established in the context of the celebrations in honor of Holy Spirit and provides material which raise interesting questions, such as: Has the female leadership empowered women who play during this festivity? How do the women who participate evaluate their own role within the overall context of the ceremony? Did their headship contribute to undermining racial, social, and gender prejudices? Although our object of study belongs to the field of cultural studies, encompassing both performative and representational aspects of this widely spread Brazilian manifestation, in order to exemplify empowerment, these questions will be addressed having as a case study a group of women called Caixeiras do Divino [The Holy Spirit’s Drumers], who are the responsible for the general organization of the ceremony.
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