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Title:Native blowguns and national guns: The Achuar Jivaroans and the dialectics of power in the Peruvian Amazon
Author(s):Uriarte, Luis M.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Whitten, Norman E., Jr.
Department / Program:Anthropology, Cultural
Discipline:Anthropology, Cultural
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Anthropology, Cultural
Abstract:The Achuar are still generally considered one of the most isolated and, except the Huambisa, possibly least known sub-groups of the Jivaroan cultural and linguistic family. On the basis of an uninterrupted research, conducted from October, 1980 through September, 1983 among the Achuar Jivaroans of the Peruvian Upper Amazon, the processes of asymmetrical interdependence between this native population and the expansionist national-multinational fronts are explored with particular attention to the dialectics and strategies of power.
A brief ethnohistorical and ecological account, along with an ethnographic synopsis of this group, is sketched to provide background and context. A theory of praxis, within which relations of power are analyzed, ought to account for historically structured structures that impinge on actually ongoing structuring processes in everyday life.
The analytic approach, breaking away from stultifying polarities (materialist vs. cognitive) and unidirectionality (ethnocide vs. ethnogenesis), centers on the interface of two interrelated processes, nationalist expansion (macro analysis) and native resistance (micro analysis) caught up in the complex interdependence of a single social formation, rather than dual society. Thus, through a processual analysis of praxis and the multivocality of power patterning, the discussion focuses on the conflicts and antinomies that exist between the hegemonic process of domination exercised by national and international segments to gain control, and the concomitant process of acquiescence/resistance exercised by the indigenous population to regain or maintain control over their relevant physical, social, and mental environment.
The picture that emerges from the data is much more complex than either the "doom" (extinction) or the "boom" (survival) theorists have predicted for the so-called Fourth World populations and other ethnic groups, in and out of Amazonia. The data strongly suggest that if, when, and while an indigenous group manages to keep a sufficient land base (territorial control) and manages to overcome the nadir point of depopulation expanding its biological reproduction (demographic control), remarkable processes of resistance can emerge, and substantial cultural consistency and continuity of deep structures can coexist even in the midst of radical change. Processes of ethnogenesis and ethnocide can not only coexist and continue to periodically confront each other, but become in fact two sides of the same dialectical process.
Issue Date:1989
Rights Information:Copyright 1989 Uriarte, Luis M.
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI8916318
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI8916318

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