Found again in translation? Standardizing the authenticity of guaraná among the Sateré-Mawé people (Brazilian Amazon)

Mélanie Congretel


This article analyzes a certification process undertaken by Sateré-Mawé indigenous people from the Brazilian Amazon, as part of a “global localization” strategy aimed to reappropriate a plant that is both cultivated and globalized. Through their attempt to establish that the guaraná they produce and sell is the original one, they seek to restore the plant’s central role in their social organization and epistemology, while pursuing broader goals of cultural, political, and territorial autonomy. Our analysis focuses on the knowledge politics and on the processes of translation at play in the negotiation of certification standards, in order to show how and to what extent the actors involved manage to understand each other’s ideas and practices, to negotiate shared values and goals, and to establish standards defining what is authentic. It also explores the “generative interfaces” between anthropology and law so as to produce situated ethnographies of how the global is constructed.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.1086/716714