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Beyond Imported MagicEssays on Science, Technology, and Society in Latin America$
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Eden Medina, Ivan da Costa Marques, and Christina Holmes

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780262027458

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262027458.001.0001

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Ontological Politics and Latin American Local Knowledges

Ontological Politics and Latin American Local Knowledges

Chapter:
(p.85) 5 Ontological Politics and Latin American Local Knowledges
Source:
Beyond Imported Magic
Author(s):

Ivan da Costa Marques

Publisher:
The MIT Press
DOI:10.7551/mitpress/9780262027458.003.0005

It is a widely held Western belief that the West has knowledge, while other people have mere beliefs about reality. This kind of Western common sense is established as a result of a specific ontological political perspective adopted in the production of modern scientific knowledges. This chapter looks closely at two cases of relations between Brazilian realities and the West. The first case involves a very popular fictional figure whom Brazilian intellectuals have transformed from a literary object into an object of sociological research. The second case shows three different worlds or realities (not just three different interpretations of reality) of multimistura, a food additive made from native ingredients in response to the serious problem of malnutrition in Brazilian children. A local practice dating from the 1970s, multimistura has resisted the hegemonic ontological political perspective of Western science. The combined analysis of the two cases demonstrates a line of flight from the Western global frame of reference and provides Brazilian local practices and organizations with greater respectability in their agreements and disputes with Western sciences and technologies.

Keywords:   Ontological politics, Western sciences, Western technologies, Local knowledges, Nutritional science, Multimistura, Belief, Brazil

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