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Autonomy, productiveness, and community: the rise of inequality in an Amazonian society

Published version
Peer-reviewed

Repository DOI


Type

Article

Change log

Authors

Buitron, Natalia 

Abstract

jats:titleAbstract</jats:title>jats:pIn Amazonian societies, autonomy is said to be a core value motivating egalitarian politics. This article shows how the quest for autonomy and productiveness presently sets in motion processes that encroach upon these very values. Among the Shuar of Amazonian Ecuador, the realization of autonomy and productiveness increasingly depends on the capture of state resources. Shuar interact with the local state as members of relatively recent sedentary communities and through the mediation of elected leaders. In these processes, ‘community’ itself is transformed: being a channel to regenerate domestic livelihoods, it also becomes an end in itself, giving rise to new economistic attitudes while legitimizing inequalities between commoners and leaders. The article suggests that the pursuit of autonomy and productiveness within a process of village formation is central to the transformation of egalitarianism that occurs when small‐scale Amazonian polities engage with nation‐state politics.</jats:p>

Description

Keywords

4301 Archaeology, 4401 Anthropology, 43 History, Heritage and Archaeology, 44 Human Society

Journal Title

JOURNAL OF THE ROYAL ANTHROPOLOGICAL INSTITUTE

Conference Name

Journal ISSN

1359-0987
1467-9655

Volume Title

26

Publisher

Wiley