The Brazilian Landless Workers Movement (MST) works to create solidarity and collective identity among its members through a variety of pedagogical practices. One such practice is mística, which is at once a public, expressive dramatic performance and, drawing on Christian mysticism, an way of making contact with a transcendent reality. Mística draws on Christian theology generally, and specifically on the practices of the Christian base communities associated with liberation theology which were key in the emergence of the MST.
How do grassroots social movements respond to shifting perceptions within their bases
on key issues? This article centres its analysis on the Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais
Sem Terra (MST – Landless RuralWorkers’ Movement) and instances of the movement’s
cultural activity, in particular, mı´stica. It is recognised that the MST’s cultural activity
reflects a deep engagement with cultural politics, and further, that the movement’s
culture sector contributes directly to the delineation and formation of the ‘landless’