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Warfare and Shamanism in Amazonia


Part of Cambridge Latin American Studies

  • Date Published: October 2014
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107449428

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About the Authors
  • Warfare and Shamanism in Amazonia is an ethnographic study of the Parakanã, a little-known indigenous people of Amazonia, who inhabit the interfluvial region in the state of Pará, Brazil. This book analyzes the relationship between warfare and shamanism in Parakanã society from the late nineteenth century until the end of the twentieth century. Based on the author's extensive fieldwork, the book presents first-hand ethnographic data collected among a generation still deeply involved in conflicts. The result is an innovative work with a broad thematic and comparative scope.

    • Extensive empirical base
    • Strong theoretical claims
    • Innovative approach
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Here is the highest form of anthropology: superb ethnography, seriously pondered. Thinking through a small Amazonian group, Carlos Fausto is able to synthesize oppositions of universal import - the likes of history vs. structure or autonomy vs. alterity - that have long troubled the human sciences. Then there is the sheer intellectual pleasure of following a narrative that turns cannibalism into kinship.' Marshall Sahlins, University of Chicago

    'Carlos Fausto has become over the years one of the leading figures in the anthropology of Amazonian Indians, and thus, in view of the relevance of this cultural area in present anthropological debates, a forefront actor in the inquiry on what it is to be human. Warfare and Shamanism in Amazonia offers yet another example of his exceptional intellectual creativity.' Philippe Descola, Collège de France

    'Paying equally close attention to historical events and cultural forms, Warfare and Shamanism in Amazonia presents an ethnographically rich and theoretically nuanced picture of Parakanã agency. In so doing, it offers a compelling model for describing the processes of change and continuity in lowland societies as well as beyond. Of special interest to a wide variety of readers are Fausto's analyses of complicated shifts in agriculture and sociopolitical organization that avoid the explanatory logics of either cultural regression or evolution as well as his already influential discussion of the relationship between predation and the production of familiarity and kinship in indigenous lowland societies.' Suzanne Oakdale, author of I Foresee My Life: The Ritual Performance of Autobiography in an Amazonian Community

    '… [a] theoretically nuanced and deeply fascinating work … The Parakanã conceptual universe is complex, and not easy to articulate in Western terms, but sustained immersion within Fausto's 'new language' reminds us that to understand other cultures requires adjustments to ourselves.' Robert J. Wallis, Time and Mind

    'Warfare and Shamanism in Amazonia is the English translation of Inimigos Fiéis, Carlos Fausto's masterful ethnography of the Parakanã Indians, published in Portuguese in 2001. … Beyond its ethnographic value, the book brings an innovative combination of structuralist anthropology with a historical approach of potential value to archaeologists.' Eduardo Goés Neves, Antiquity

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    Product details

    • Date Published: October 2014
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107449428
    • length: 370 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 21 mm
    • weight: 0.54kg
    • contains: 24 b/w illus. 8 maps 20 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. The matter of time
    2. Images of abundance and scarcity
    3. Forms through history
    4. Why war?
    5. The master and the pet
    6. Death producing life
    7. Gods, axes, and jaguars.

  • Author

    Carlos Fausto, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro
    Carlos Fausto is Associate Professor of Anthropology at the Museu Nacional, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro. Fausto has been conducting fieldwork among Amazonian indigenous peoples since 1988. His articles have appeared in the Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, Current Anthropology, American Ethnologist, Religion and Society, Science, Mana, L'Homme, Gradhiva and the Journal de la Société des Américanistes. He co-edited Time and Memory in Indigenous Amazonia (2007) with Michael Heckenberger. He currently collaborates with indigenous people to produce video documentaries.

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