Of Enemies and Pets: Warfare and Shamanism in Amazonia

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Abstract

Indigenous warfare in tropical South America, frequently involving cannibalism and trophy hunting, has been a recurrent theme in Americanist literature. Since the 16th century, conquerors, missionaries, chroniclers, and more recently anthropologists have striven to make sense of the phenomenon. In this article, I propose a model of social reproduction that subsumes warfare and shamanism within a generalized economy. I show the existence of a dialectic operating between two relational forms, predation and familiarization. This dialectic functions as a general schema of the mode for producing persons and groups in the region, [warfare, shamanism, ritual, exchange theory, animal familiarization, Amazonian Indians]

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