'Ayahuasca-From Dangerous Drug to National Heritage: An Interview with Antonio A. Arantes

This interview with Antonio A. Arantes, Brazilian anthropology professor and recognized specialist on the topics of intellectual property and traditional knowledge, addresses the 2008 request by Brazilian ayahuasca groups to be recognized as part of the immaterial cultural heritage of Brazil. In the first portion of the interview, Arantes reflects on the challenges of the new conceptions of the Brazilian national immaterial policy program. He discusses several examples of cultural goods recognized by the Brazilian state, such as the candomblé and the samba, and analyzes the controversial issues involving authenticity and tradition in these and other similar cases. In the second portion, Arantes reflects on the specific case of ayahuasca, the relationship of this cultural heritage request to legal issues, the challenges to define exactly what aspects should be recognized, and speculates on the chances that these religious groups will come to be recognized as a national symbol of Brazil
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