Keywords: Brasil, ethnography of whiteness, miscegenation, white identity, race
This article presents some reflections from ongoing research on white upper-middle class men in Rio de Janeiro. The analysis of the construction of whiteness as an object of ethnographic enquiry permits us to consider the specificities and difficulties of ethnographic research on a category that in Euro-Western and Brazilian contexts represents the Self through which the social and cultural Other is defined. From these premises the article investigates what it means to classify him/herself and to be classified as white in Brazilian society, historically characterised by a valorisation of miscegenation and currently by a heated debate on anti-racist policies. The material presented shows how the invisibility of whiteness is associated on the one hand to the perception of the privilege connected to it, on the other hand to the pre-eminence of social class as an interpretive category.