The Aesthetical Look

In my Ph.D. thesis (2016: 110) while debating aesthetical values among candomblé practitioners in Uberaba and Salvador of Bahia, I postulated the concept of «aesthetical look». I have defined it as a particular way of considering the visual aspects of an object or event. This aesthetical look is shaped by the culture wherein one experienced its multiple socialization and, of course, by the fashion industry. Somehow, this concept was a way I found to explain my place in the narrative, considering the fact that most of what my interlocutors claimed to be beautiful was, clearly, kitsch for me. Now, I just came across Peter Fry’s statement on the subject in his book Para inglês ver: identidade e política na cultura brasileira. As he stated about Umbanda believers: “what was beautiful to them, for me was kitsch” (1982: 14).

This is an obvious problem when it came to discussing local values. Our ethnocentrism may run into ourselves in some unexpected corner. Even if today we have uncoated the discipline by old-fashioned ideas like evolutionism, as human beings we are not feelingless shells. As Aislan Vieira de Melo (2004) pointed out: a researcher never is innocent on his considerations… In face of that, how can we discuss aesthetical values that we do not share? Easily: being good anthropologists, which means looking to the topic on local terms and values and translate it to our language.

Cite this article as: João Ferreira Dias, "The Aesthetical Look," in Instituto Ixéxé para o estudo dos cultos Orixá e Vodun, accessed in 6 de Junho, 2020, <https://instituto-ixexe.org/215/>.

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