You are on page 1of 6

ZDM 2001 Vol.

33 (3) Analyses

People of My Side ≈ People of the what they wanted to create “just by thinking of it”. So the
two brought into being all kinds of delicious nuts and
Other Side fruits the people were delighted to savor, but also gave
Socionumerical Systems in Central birth to specimens of the animal world – such as dogs,
jaguars and hornets – that frightened Xavante children
Brazil and adults alike.
The pair of ti’aimomé – the creators – fulfilled their
fantasies of populating the Xavante cosmos with
Mariana K. L. Ferreira, Knoxville, TN (USA) ferocious, menacing beings, by transforming themselves
into the very animals they dedicated themselves to create.
Disguised as ants, mosquitoes and other kinds of nasty
Abstract: In this philosophical inquiry into the foundations of beasts, they wandered among the people biting, stinging
Xavante mathematical thought, numbers emerge as categories and creating havoc among the once peaceful nation.
structured by social praxis in central Brazil. Clans, moieties,
Because the youngsters’ powers got out of control, they
age-sets, and specific kin relations can be viewed as
conventional symbols, or numerals, representing essential
would have to be killed. This was not an easy task,
constituencies of the Xavante socionumerical system. As in however, because the transformative powers of the
other Gê-speaking societies of the Brazilian Amazon, Xavante creators lured everyone. They’d transform themselves
numbers catalyze a set of presuppositions about dialectical into birds and fly away, or else into underground animals,
mathematical systems whose rationality is informed by the and bury themselves into safety. Adults from both clans,
pervasive dualism that governs social interaction for an both married and unmarried, young and old, were
estimated 8,000 Xavante today. The binary nature of this involved in devising a plan to kill the ti’aimomé. Because
numerical system is a product of an omnipresent dialectical the youngsters terribly frightened the community, they
view of the world, always oscillating between an “us” and a
became “people of the other side”, as opposed to “people
“them” – or people of my side ≈ people of the other side.
of this side” – the broader Xavante population.
Accordingly, a unit is defined as the union of 2 fundamental
parts, and numerical place value assumes the significance of Well aware of the danger they faced, the two young
reciprocal social relationships. The dialectical association of warriors nevertheless took part of the tribe´s everyday
beings, human or not, material or symbolic, within the activities – their energy stemmed from social life.
dynamism of Xavante dualism synthesizes these and other key Tragedy was soon to follow: immediately after the two
ideas about the philosophy of Gê mathematical thought. boys trespassed the expected distance between initiated
Kurzreferat: Leute meiner Seite ≈ Leute der anderen Seite.
and non-initiated men, approaching a group of male
Sozionumerische Systeme in Zentralbrasilien. Bei dieser elders on a hunting expedition, they were clubbed to
philosophischen Erkundung der Grundlagen des mathema- death. While the people danced around their motionless
tischen Denkens des Volkes der Xavante tauchen Zahlen auf als bodies, the ti’aimomé’s blood fertilized the earth and
Kategorien, die durch soziale Gegebenheiten in Zentralbrasilien gave birth to two trees of power: watépare, from the
strukturiert sind. Clans, Teile, Altersgruppen, spezifische blood of the Owawé clan, and wawa from the Poreza’ono
Verwandtschaftsbeziehungen können als konventionelle Sym- blood. The first payback killings among the Xavante then
bole oder Zahlzeichen angesehen werden, die die wesentlichen took place: the ti’aimomé created pi’u, a deadly kind of
Bestandteile des sozionumerischen Systems der Xavante black bee, which stung and killed everyone (adapted from
repräsentieren. Wie in anderen Gê-sprechenden Gesellschaften
Serebura et al. 1997).
des brasilianischen Amazonasgebiets dienen die Zahlen der
Xavante sozusagen als Katalysator für Voraussetzungen
dialektischer mathematischer Systeme, deren Rationalität durch Articulating "people of my side", "people of the other
den Dualismus begründet ist, der die soziale Interaktion der side" (waniwihã, wasi’re’wa) is an underlying feature of
heute auf ca. 8000 geschätzten Xavante beherrscht. Die binäre the Xavante way of being in the world today. It is a
Natur dieses numerischen Systems ist das Ergebnis einer cosmological principle that has actually been
allgegenwärtigen dialektischen Weltsicht, die laufend zwischen strengthened, rather than weakened, after half a century
"uns" und "ihnen" hin- und herschwingt – oder: Leute meiner of colonial exploitation and missionary proselytizing. The
Seite ≈ Leute der anderen Seite. Entsprechend wird eine Einheit definition of “us” and “them” changes across space and
definiert als Vereinigung von zwei fundamentalen Teilen, und
time, and acquires special meanings according to the
dem numerischen Stellenwert liegt die Bedeutung der
reziproken sozialen Beziehung zugrunde. Die dialektische
political context. The recently published book Wamreme
Assoziation von menschlichen und nichtmenschlichen, Za'ra – Our Word. Myth and History of the Xavante
materiellen und symbolischen Wesen im Rahmen des People (Serebura et. al 1997), narrated by five Xavante
Dynamismus im Dualismus der Xavante synthetisiert diese und elders of the Pimentel Barbosa Village in the state of
andere Schlüsselideen zur Philosophie des Gê mathematischen Mato Grosso, central Brazil features several ancestral
Denkens. narratives, including the above, about the origins of the
ZDM-Classification: C60, E20, F30 Xavante people and of their cultural elements, that are
valued today as the core of Xavante knowledge.
1. A Xavante history of creation Beginning with the first narrative – “Au'we Uptabi”
In the beginning of times, two powerful young warriors (The Real People) –, Xavante culture is presented and
wandered around a vast territory in Central Brazil, characterized as "traditional knowledge", as opposed to
creating all kinds of beings that now inhabit the Xavante the white man's lack of knowledge and of respect towards
natural world. The two wapté – adolescent boys being "real people". Not only is the distinction us/them obvious
prepared for initiation rites – had the power of choosing throughout the original narrative; other pairs of


In other words. Sociocultural advantages of “peaceful contact” with the broader anthropology can be particularly thought provoking in the Brazilian society. experience of active individuals account for the diversity The dynamic properties of the system constantly call of strategies of mathematical reasoning (Ferreira 1997. in Xavante cosmology. of them tends to be expressed symbolically in an Different worldviews – the socially constituted world asymmetrical way (Lévi-Strauss 1952. male/female. redefined in terms of power relations between "us" and clan. "them": before/after. 1998). Let us now look at beings. geometrical transformations.Analyses ZDM 2001 Vol. and by disperse into hunting and trekking bands for part or every timber and mining companies in the early 1920s. 1999). including schooling. were predominantly individual basis. the Xavante realized the political (Ferreira 1981. This important cosmic beginning of the world and its creators unfold towards the distinction neatly and poetically represents a series of conflicts and tensions of the contact situation between binary oppositions which are the very warp of what being Indians and non-Indians. adding do and its cosmological foundations – and the everyday the dynamism of the moiety system. Contact history: before and after the “whites” supplemented by hunting and gathering done on a The Xavante Indians of Mato Grosso. In other words. This meant. The occupation of the traditional territories of the Xavante and of several other native 3." thus assumed an additional mathematics – such as the concept of what constitutes a contrastive significance after contact was established with unit. and so on – are dialectically and adults of one's own. classical cosmological in the world means for the Xavante.” each household. Each of every two groupings relationships. confine. as expressed in the above history of creation. or of the other's. take over the economic and demographic “void” of the country’s heart. knowledge is understood as the ways in which different such as sedentary agricultural production and missionary peoples experience the world and act upon it. etc. al 1997). The village can also first encroached upon by Salesian missionaries. and in the next decades by the my experience in teaching mathematics on indigenous geopolitics of national security (Lopes da Silva 2000). The Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL) "feelings as well as thoughts. while Lave 1988). This pattern is characterized by an alternation between the practice of slash-and-burn agriculture around a large base village. age-set. While year. some recent contingencies of Indian-white relations that Dualism is also an important structuring resource of the both express and help shape aspects of Gê mathematical tribe's daily practices and activities. name-group. lineage. and so forth. children high/low. central Brazil. the very year the Xavante were finally deemed Using knowledge as a prototype for culture allows us to “pacified” Indians (Maybury-Lewis 1967). or "people and principles that we are inclined to take for granted in separated from us. numbers. The treks are always organized on the basis of the missionaries set out to “save the savages’ lost souls”. if not only to guarantee the tribe’s field of mathematical philosophy because it recognizes physical survival. etc. It came normative composition. according to culturally and historically specific nevertheless present in all of these newly formed paired recruitment principles. embodied skills as well as became an official partner of the Brazilian government in taxonomies and other verbal models" (Barth 1995). village. the moiety system of dialectical in their logical schemes in the way they manage societies can be considered a self-regulating system of quantities and. for the reproduction of the collective institutions. The moiety system reflects a comprehend the fundamental principles of a dialectical fundamental and contemporary structuring principle of society. classifications and institutionalizing cyclical or repetitive reproductive so forth (D’Ambrosio 1990. as expressed in the thought. consequently. substance-group. different cultures. embracing some fundamentals of economic development. day/night. look back at the logical foundations of certain concepts The divide between "us" and "them". collective male groups. but the relationship between each before us and will follow ahead” (Serebura et. measurements. Each individual is thus necessarily assigned to one or the savage/pacified. age-set membership. through which the tribe constructs order to understand more fully some ideas and principles its universe and thinks of itself as opposed to other of Xavante mathematical philosophy. It is thus important to processes (Turner 1979). The contributions of sociocultural anthropology populations thus became one of the principal fronts of the My interest in the philosophy of mathematics springs nationalist program of Brazil’s president Getúlio Vargas from insights the field of social sciences has brought to in the 1930s and 40s. white/Indian. 33 (3) complementary relationships are used as basic structuring the broader Brazilian society. As the narratives about the between Indians and whites. as well as the concept of number itself. among other things. ment/freedom. other of every two groupings – either male or female. The general dynamic married or unmarried. 1994. tribe's bimodal economic pattern. raw/cooked. house. and trying to guarantee room for transformations to take individuals within any given culture. 2. 1997. initiated or not. and properties of the moiety structure of Xavante society are so on. (Maybury- opening the way for the Brazilian colonizing enterprise to Lewis 1979). just like any system capable of shapes and relations. A journey 90 . social relationships between men and women. weak/strong. primitive/civilized. 1956). 1958. knowledge as a major modality of culture. young or old. according to the composition of the loggers and miners “domesticated the wilderness. health/disease. proceed differently place. an idea that is summoned up in the very last formed is structurally symmetrical in terms of its saying of the book: "Tradition must remain. In reservations in central Brazil in the 1970s and 1980s the late 1950s. as to include the separation resources by the narrators. Here. and that express oppositions – human/animal.

which fingers are actually involved in the operation is less requires individuals to marry outside of their clan. the mother’s brother and all the males traditional assumptions of traditional pure mathematics. in each one of the groups. where polygamy is rare. Therefore. according to D'Ambrosio (1990. is that unlike the Euclidian definition of a unit five-year period of time are highly variable. village/forest. been brought societies. unitary value. the word for many – ahodi – is inevitably available spouses from the other clan in her own village. 4. and wife in Xavante society could be. one-many. as mentioned above. of his descent group are like father (Maybury-Lewis which may be regarded as consisting wholly of 1979). in turn. demographics of any particular Xavante village would However. at any given time. In such of dialectical societies has rarely. if ever. as well as other Gê populations. This elementary principle This means that a two-one relation is being established. It would very frequently encompass. have been many/much” question. each one of them. the When asked to count something. patio. but not exclusively one-one. and 2) since as “that by virtue of which each of the things that exist is the age-set class reproduces itself every 40 years. from one-one to one-many.. enlighten basic notions of Rather than a one-one relation.1 Counting Theoretically. ever range from one-one to one-many. Accordingly. members of maparané – a couple because it is necessarily formed by a same age-set group whose birth dates are approximately a pair of ones – mitsi – a lonely self. and important than the number of pairs he/she comes up with. for Ethnomathematics. these notions became hotly The father to son/daughter relation is also distinct from debated topics among various mathematicians during the the one we would expect to find in societies which define 20th century. allow us to acquire fresh insight and new Social relationships. a unit. How many enhanced by the Gê’s exogamous marriage system. transmission the same number of terms as we would expect to have in and institutionalization of knowledges and practices most Western countries. individuals there are in each one of the age-sets. however. indicating that Thus. social mobility also characterizes Xavante life. like from a base-village on two to three-month hunting and bullets or arrows – or else express the same mental collecting expeditions. the 91 . can hopefully enhance our ability we consider the pair of moieties composed of “married to strengthen one of the basic objectives of men” and “married women” in Xavante society. the relation of father to son/daughter ranges into question. which depart proceed to group the objects in pairs – if at hand. among dialectical societies I would suggest two generations (life-expectancy is approximately 55 the following: each of the things that exist is called two – years of age) there will be. instead. it would be a possibility. “1”. because it would amount to the entire amount of the Xavante population. If thought. in turn. house/ 40 years apart. when the The migratory pattern is additionally intensified due to collection is finite” (Russell 1963). while that of son to father is The philosophical underpinnings of Xavante usually many-one. The same could be said about the mother-son/daughter 4.. moieties composed of alternating age-sets or the class of because man and woman together form the fundamental age-sets itself. are logical powers into the structures of mathematical fundamental structuring resources of Xavante moieties. the father to son relation would hardly propositions about the natural numbers (Russell 1963). in each of the age-set moieties – 4. one-two.2 The Xavante definition of number of (two generations of) eight age-sets. experienced. However. the relation of husband arithmetic. some of the dialectical society. the Without the woman. primitive to be defined. 33 (3) Analyses into the cosmological underpinnings of dialectical of the composition of Xavante moieties indicates that societies. and so on. Once considered too simple and one three . “2”.1 The Xavante concept of unit composed. a situation which characterizes polygyny. discovering how many terms a collection has. instead. “adding 1”. in turn. what we learn. such as what is meant by “number”. This. from the very two reasons: 1) birth and death rates within any given beginning. counting “is only available. that it would be possible to define how many individuals compose the whole class 4. An assessment of the philosophy of number fatherhood exclusively in biological terms. The geographic mobility is further procedure by grouping his/her fingers in pairs. or asked a “how Xavante. A brief consideration various factors: the need to rotate agricultural fields. the man is nothing but half of a unit. of four alternating age-set By turning our attention to the mathematical philosophy groups – the number of terms is unpredictable because of of dialectical societies. a many-many relation.2. there are two clans per village.ZDM 2001 Vol. used at some point of the procedure. A across time. during called one”. as a means of remain steady or predictable at any given period of time. which emphasize a binary division of the world each one is composed of an indefinite number of terms. anything above 5 or 6 pairs can or should be considered which means that it would be highly unlikely that the “a large amount”. and human/spirit are only a few of Therefore. Man/woman. we would not have. Key ideas of Xavante mathematical thought relation. a Xavante individual will first characterized as semi-nomadic societies. If of kinship relations might require a woman to find a the individual has to resort to his toes after pairing up all husband in a village far from her own. there is no way of determining how many the paired moieties that form. mathematics can. Xavante man may well have more than one wife at the A journey into general ideas and principles of Xavante same time. example. It could be argued. if there are no of his fingers. Among the Xavante and other mathematics can challenge. each one of them. 1999): a critical analysis of the production.

Maparané. the number 5.. such supernatural beings can transform themselves basic set of ideas that informs the series of “natural” into human beings. for instance. – counting 2. etc. which implies that it is an odd number (tsi schools in the 1960s and 1970s (Ferreira 1994. n . We are so used to counting. 92 .1... mate. as is the case of the underwater “supernatural” beings enumerated by the Suyá of the Xingu Park 4. “without a mate” (imro husband. 3. the Kayapó. conflicts the Xavante experienced with the numerical system which form a pair. it is highly unlikely. here. This could also Given the fact that several instances of Xavante social hold true for other South American societies that have not developed a counting system that reaches beyond five.. of the universe.. lineage. the basic unit is two. or take the form of numbers. n. but that always include ways of expressing a large amount or quantity. Tsi’umdatõ. through words. means that the element is “alone” or “on its 1 Elsewhere I have discussed in detail the influences of the own”. important aspects of the discussion are not included here.2. 3 . called series of natural numbers is absent? There are distinct ordering possibilities and layouts. that is. 3. especially the counting. Take. as seen above. 1998. third. etc. is an important Gê societies consider to be an “animal”. then. the number 4. to two. successor of 1 is 2. which form one of the most powerful pair of used to interpret the magnitude of Indo-Arabic numbers moieties of Gê societies. n. The number 1. is the unitary base for Salesian missionaries on Xavante numerals. means villages due to political and/or demographic reasons. if not all. also among many other reasons. system if 1) most. to be elements of any given class or category of the basic defined in relation. or downright impossible. . but could the Xikrin or any other Gê society have developed a possibly be: linear and ordered – at first. and so on. According to modern science. because of human predatory practices – and Gê strong because it is wanena [the two of us together]”. 6. n + 3 . n + 1. 5. thought. between the human/Xavante domain and the animal The semantic meaning of Xavante numerals has been domain. or in opposition. m + 2 . stands for “the one Last but not least.2 Numerical place value as social relationships Let us now turn our attention to the semantics of place value among dialectical societies. Here. forms the human class is highly irregular. correlation between the set of objects counted and a so. “Supernatural” value of the Xavante’s dualistic social organization and beings that evade the scientific classificatory scheme are the basic unitary value of the tribe’s traditional numerical included by Gê populations as part of the (natural) animal system. 1. when I asked him to compare 185 and 900: world. populations are well aware of this. it could be expected that the “numerical” place value would also be determined by social relationships. For lack of space.. that we take for granted though. the number of “185 is less than 900 because I am alone [mitsi 1] in 185 animal species in the world is finite.. Lino expressed value in terms of social relations. is one of classification. the reasoning behind Lino Tsere’a’s the same unpredictability can be found in the animal explanation. m + 3. While the number of terms that in classroom situations and economic transactions. Maparané tsiuiwanã. 2000). 4. let us briefly examine the relation who has found his mate”. what Wanena – ”the two [of us] together”. 4. starts with invented by Salesian missionaries and introduced in Xavante the prefix tsi. other than this linear... 5. Imrotõ. the number 6. and 2) the one-one 2. of their significant if n is an even number and collections or classes are not finite. age-set. If. material or symbolic. In 900 tomai’ã tomai’ã is declining. the number 2. that anything is supposed to be counted. an odd number. on its own).. We have seen that an individual’s position in society is largely informed by dual or binary relationships established between him/herself and other relations of his sex. according to Xavante Here. 8. six or seven. the “natural order” for the Xavante numerical Why. 1. The problem. 2. mitsi. clan. because it is the union of the “lonely halves”. according to which the successor of 0 is 1.Analyses ZDM 2001 Vol. 4. m.3 Xavante cyclical laws of numerical succession (Ferreira 1997. alone. too. sequence would not be 0. for instance. in print). the any other being.. tõ without). That being constituent moieties of dialectical societies. 33 (3) encroachment of non-indigenous settlers.. the Suyá. and increasingly and without a mate [imroto 5]. 1 kingdom. would the Xavante. that is. expressing a fundamental difference between odd and even numbers. 7 . If the numerical system also expresses (and is constitutive of) this normative model. second. Imropo. the number 3. if m is an odd number. 7 . increasing succession. 8. Xavante number names follow the dualistic organizing Figure 1: Cyclical configuration of Xavante numerical system principle outlined above. and vice-versa. the number one can be to establish a one-one correspondence between any of the considered to have a contrastive identity. the case. 6. 1. the splitting of represents 2 groups of 2. intonation or gestures that indicate “many” or “beyond reach”. To complicate the situation a bit The philosophy of Xavante mathematics challenges the more.

central Brazil. Abareú. passing recent changes in marriage arrangements and p. composition of the system. L. One of the cycles of mãos. 93 . A. K. (1990): Etnomatemática. representations of Oxford University Press. – In: S. in relation to the class it is part of (the alternating age. tribe’s age-set system. boys and girls undergoing initiation are 95. (1998): MADIKAUKU – os dez dedos das complements their moiety system. offset of a new cycle. Lopes da Silva. (1981): Uma Experiência de Educação para cyclical or repetitive reproductive processes by os Xavante. a unit is formed by the union of 2 Wolf (Ed. the Xavante traditional counting system extended itself Ferreira. Dialectical Societies: The embody the Xavante nation as a whole. (1990): The Crest of the Peacock: Non-European pervasive dualism. There is a total Ferreira. central to the philosophy of Xavante mathematics: the Russell. which. Maybury-Lewis. (1997): When 1+12. I would therefore Ge and Bororo of Central Brazil. – Cambridge and cyclic) progression. as well as for transformations in the # 98/09100-6) in Brazil. (2000): The Akwe-Xavante in History at the group moiety. Bea Lumpkin. 161-182. in turn. – Thiruvanan- thapuram. Ferreira. C. basic unit is two. the Xavante concept of number is an New American Library.1). (1994): Com quantos paus se faz uma canoa! The numerals that represent each socionumerical cycle A matemática na vida cotidiana e na experiência escolar have been limited to eight because there is evidence that indígena. New York. – São Paulo: FFLCH/USP. p. the individuals that Chicago: University of Chicago Press compose each of the recurrent age-groups are separated Lévi-Strauss. Arte ou Técnica de potential of elongating the spiral. therefore. The spiraling nature of the curve moves simultaneously away from. for the helpful comments. K. – In: American Ethnologist Vol. 65-72. Ferreira. In the Xavante age-set system there central et oriental. (1986): Nomes e Amigos: da prática xavante his/her status or (social) value – can only be determined a uma reflexão sobre os Jê. allow for the reproduction of the collective funded by CNPq (grant # 301499/96-9 NV) and FAPESP (grant institutions. (1979): Cultural Categories of the Central a group or collection of individuals. Nodzou. Turner 1979). Ge. observing instances of proximity and Lévi-Strauss. J. However. L. M.). M. Mass. composed of moments of time and London: Cambridge University Press. 33 (3) Analyses life. A. p. G. Matemática e povos indígenas no Brasil. Brasiliense. São Paulo: Ed. (in print): The 2 of us together. totaling a cycle Terra Indígena Wawi. Mohammad Bagheri. The Elementary Structures of Kinship. Tax (Ed. – In: A. transformations. K.). form two separate moieties. and to the environment are expressed in cycles (Ferreira 1994. Lopes da Silva 1986. 52-68. – Oxford: Xavante numbers are. according to the Joseph. New York: The fundamental parts. The Art or of dialectical societies are self-regulating systems of Technique of Explaining and Knowing. which. M. social relations that qualify the system as a Lévi-Strauss. Breakthroughs in Mathematics.2. Knowing. 51. L. M. 1998.). Acknowledgments their number system in a cyclical order. D. K. formed every five years. when the system reenacts itself. 24 (No. individual’s position within the system – and therefore Lopes da Silva. Ferreira. and a successor to each term. including their notion of time. D. place value is accordingly defined by social relationships. Josh Schendel. A Questão da incorporating change without changing the basic Educação Indígena. (1967): Akwe-Shavante Society. 212-237. G. C. 4&5(No. encom. C. Xavante Ai’rere. the basic 6. (2000): Perícia Histórico-Antropológica na of eight age-sets. – In: P. another institution that 132-147. (1988): Cognition in Practice. p. and The dynamic properties of a cyclical model. – of avoidance. (1999): Ethnomathematics. This ties in perfectly with the Central-Brazil. perhaps it would be more appropriate to represent 5. – Brasília: Ministério da Educação e do Desporto. Estado do Mato Grosso. – Brasília: Xavante social life is marked by the successive Ministério da Educação e do Desporto. da Silva (Ed. – In: Journal of Latin American other set of alternating age-groups). Cambridge. socionumerical order. they are capable of institutionalizing Ferreira. – In: Journal of Anthropological Research Vol. Although the 29th International Congress of Americanists. Court Case # years. depending on specific social contexts. Tirowa..ZDM 2001 Vol. M. U. International Seminar on Aryabhateeyam. delayed birth of offspring. incorporation of individuals into age-sets. which reproduces I wish to thank Ubiratan D’Ambrosio. en Volkenkunde by two generations of 20 years each and relate to each 112:99-128. L. system repeats itself every 40 years. 218-248. Maybury-Lewis (Ed. L. K. have had the D’Ambrosio.). Every five Grosso: Judicial Court of Mato Grosso. Needham (Ed. George itself in spiral form. and suggest a basic set of ideas and propositions that could be London: Harvard University Press. for example. B. Social relations function as place values. (1963 [1919]): The definition of number. – In: D. as noted the Xavante from the Parabubure Reservation in Mato Grosso. p. Proceedings of the Anorowa. therefore. Maybury-Lewis 1979. U. (1969 [1949]): The Principle of Reciprocity. Etepá. and mathematics in central Brazil. L. Hotorã. Roots of Mathematics. Making mathematics in up to eight (Ferreira 1998). relates dialectically to the end of the 20th Century. (1995): Other Knowledge and Other Ways of Structural transformations in Xavante kinship. F. (1956): Les organizations dualistes existent- elles? – In: Bijdragen tot de Taal-Land. Selected Papers of the is a first term. The research was above. the body and relation expression of the society’s dialectical worldview. p. India: Center for Mathematical Sciences in turn. Anthropology Vols. because it delays the explicar e conhecer. The age-set system could be considered a (finite and Lave.00013967-7 assigned to one of the following age-sets: Tsada’ro. – London: Penguin Books. References organizing principles of Xavante social structure. Barth. other dialectically. such as in Figure 1. because the Boston: Beacon Press. (1952): Les structures socials dans le Brésil socionumerical one. – São Paulo: Editora Ática.). K. because moiety systems D’Ambrosio. Hector Qirko. – Berlin: The Max Planck Institute for the History of Science. in turn. – Mato of forty years. Joseph. M. L. Alternated age-sets (distinguished in bold font). In: R.1). and towards. social categories that stand for a way of bringing together Maybury-Lewis.

E-mail: mferrei1@utk. Leal. Dialectical Societies: The Ge and Bororo of Central Brazil. University of Tennessee. The Suya Indians of Mato Grosso. Serebura. – Sao Paulo: Ed. – In: D. 250 South Stadium Hall. Nossa Palavra. Cambridge. A. Maybury-Lewis (Ed. Mito e Historia do Povo Xavante. USA. Knoxville. T. Hipru. 33 (3) Seeger.) 94 . TN 37996. 147-178. Prof. (1979): The Ge and Bororo Societies as Dialectical Systems: A General Model.Analyses ZDM 2001 Vol. (1981): Nature and Society in Central Brazil.. Senac e Nucleo de Cultura Indigena. Department of Anthropology. – Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Mariana K. Turner. Mass. and London: Harvard University Press. p. Serezabdi. ____________ Author Ferreira. Rupawe. and Serenimirami (1997): Wamreme Za'ra.