Racial malleability and the sensory regime of politically conscious Brazilian hip hop

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10 Scopus citations


Examining the bodily practices of poor male youth who affiliated with politically conscious Brazilian hip hop at the turn of the 21st century, this article reworks current understandings of the "flexibility" of race in Brazil. I first draw on examples from a range of global and historical contexts that show how bodies come to be understood as racially malleable, including 20th century theories of eugenics and studies of colonial contexts in which white and nonwhite populations have been exposed to new sensory regimes that could potentially alter their racial appearance. Next, I suggest that Brazilian rappers demonstrate racial malleability as they alter their bodily aesthetics, patterns of consumption, and linguistic practices. In an era of heightened U.S. exchange and influence, poor Brazilian male youth draw on the construction of (contested) links to the United States and global modernity to shift their racial appearance on a scale of relative whiteness and nonwhiteness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)294-313
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 2013


  • Afro-Latinos
  • Brazil
  • Music
  • Race
  • Youth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology


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