Getting to Know Waiwai: An Amazonian Ethnography

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 1995-09-13
  • Publisher: Routledge

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For two years Alan Campbell lived in a remote area of the Amazon Forest with the Wayapi people.Getting to Know Waiwaichronicles his encounters with them as well as his relationship with their charismatic leader Waiwai. Thinking back to the destruction of the North American Indians, the book looks forward to Wayapi survivors one hundred years from now and considers what will be left for them as the devastation of the Amazon rainforests proceeds. Dealing with ethnographic themes such as material culture and ecology, relationship terms and naming, political power and morality, myths and cosmology, shamanism, birth precautions, cultural change and ethnic survival, Alan Campbell examines the complexities of anthropological theory in a way which is accessible at the most introductory level, without losing any of its subtlety. He presents the cultural description of the Wayapi society in the context of the impact of the encroaching outside world. In doing so he addresses the complexquestions of contrast between elegiac sadness for a lost culture and a romantic yearning for an imagined past, the nature of fieldwork as a personal relation, and the difficulties inherent in translating indigenous languages and interpreting other cultures. Getting to Know Waiwaiis a refreshing, beautifully written and original introduction to anthropology, and will be fascinating reading for anyone interested in indigenous peoples, the destruction of the Amazon forests, ethnicity and traditional cultures.

Table of Contents

Telling Names
The Amazon Forest, the Old Caledonian Forest, and the Battle of Wounded Knee
What names mean
Arrival and first weeks with the Wayapi.
At Long Hammock
In the woods
Men hunting
Women and manioc
Other Voices
Government officials
An exiled Indian
Understanding and idealization
Sprees, drunkenness, and dancing
`Lesser breeds without the Law'
Chiefs and power
Four, Fire, and Giving
Relationship terms
Four as the fundamental mode of social logic
Fire as the fundamental mode of production
Giving as the fundamental mode of morality.
Teaching literacy
What myths are
Narrative styles in myths
Shamanism and how to understand it
The anaconda and birth precautions, `the couvade'
Cultural change
Ethnic identity and ethnic survival
References 239(8)
Index 247

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