Carrier-Moisan, M-E. 2018. ‘I have to feel something’: Gringo Love in the Sexual Economy of Tourism in Natal, Brazil. Journal of Latin American Anthropology. 23 (1): 131-151

Abstract: Drawing on ethnographic research conducted in Natal, Northeast Brazil, this work examines the ways in which love with foreign men, or what I term gringo love, has come to constitute a recognizable emotional trope among young, low-income, black, or mixed-race Brazilian women. This article situates gringo love within the racialized political economy of love in the region, and shows that while it draws on historical patterns of reliance on love and sex to build ties of reciprocity for economic and social advancement, it also signals a shift in the scale and meanings of interracial sex practices. Contrary to common assumptions about the alienation associated with the emotional labor of love, to “feel something” provides legitimation for engagement with foreign men and reflects women’s projects of self-making. Gringo love thus enables women to remake themselves as upwardly and spatially mobile subjects, while also making it possible to disrupt local hierarchies.

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