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Urarina Society, Cosmology, and History in Peruvian Amazonia

ISBN: 9780813033785
Publisher: University Press of Florida
Edition: First Edition
Publication Date: 2009-11-15
Number of pages: 384
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"This work transcends the two-dimensional studies of conventional ethnography. Dean provides a comprehensive vision of the Urarina, making and remaking themselves in the complex history and multiethnic society of lowland Peru."--Richard K. Reed, Trinity University

The Urarina are an indigenous group found in the Peruvian lowlands. Seemingly isolated, they actually have a long history of engaging in networks of trade with outside groups, argues Bartholomew Dean in this first ever ethnography of the group.

Dean describes the surroundings and circumstances under which the Urarina live, focusing on such hot-button issues as globalization, inequality, and debt. He challenges the view of "pristine" Amazonian society by revealing the region's long history with agents of international capital. By showing how the Urarina are engaged with global, national, and regional economies, he reveals the ways those interactions shape their day-to-day life.

Based on more than a decade of field research in Peru, Dean's analysis touches on kinship and power, the exchange of goods such as cloth and forest game, land use, and the importance of narcotic trance, myths, and shamanic wizardry. Grounded in observation rather than theory, the book offers a new and more complex form of the traditional anthropological ethnography.

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