“Every human action is anthropophagic”

Oswald's Cultural Anthropophagy and Theoretical Psychology





Cultural Anthropophagy, Cultural Psychology, Modernism, Oswald de Andrade, Philosophy


The Freudian theory and the era of acceleration announced by the Futurist Manifesto arrived in Brazil in 1899 and 1909, respectively. Afterwards the concrete reception of these two significant events became more than the symptomatic revelation of the shocks provoked by industrial modernity and its powerful undercurrent of anxieties. The poet, „clown“, writer and major figure of the Brazilian modernist avant-garde, Oswald de Andrade (1890-1954) absorbed Freud and the Futurist Manifesto at once, re-pragmatized and re-semantized them. Oswald's concept of Cultural Anthropophagy (1928) as a central interpretative strategy, to be exact, an hermeneutic approach is defined by Haroldo de Campos aptly: “Oswald's ‘Anthropophagy’ [...] is the thought of critical devoration of the universal cultural heritage” (Campos,1986). The introduction of the anthropophagic trope inspired by Native Americans’ metaphysics leads the poet to a subversion of the Gestalt/Behavior psychological theories: “The anthropophagic function of the psychological behavior is reduced to two parts: 1) totemiser the external taboos; 2) create a new taboo in exogamic function” (Andrade,1929). From 1928 to 1950 the Anthropophagy approach on the interaction between the individual and the environment gained philosophical consistency. Oswald's thesis is a conceptual alternative that attempted to bring answers through the amplification of our ethical becoming. As an epistemological perspective attentive to the different modes of existence, the proposition of Oswald is a field of transformative practices having the power to overcome the techno-industrial paradigms. I will examine the contribution of Oswald de Andrade to theoretical psychology and to the issues that arise in an “Era of Acceleration” where the symbolic field is replaced by a cybernetic field.




How to Cite

Guimaraes, R. S. (2021). “Every human action is anthropophagic”: Oswald’s Cultural Anthropophagy and Theoretical Psychology. International Review of Theoretical Psychologies, 1(2). https://doi.org/10.7146/irtp.v1i2.128023



Critical voices of Self and Culture - from Bakhtin, James, Deleuze and Oswald