Under a Watchful Eye

Self, Power, and Intimacy in Amazonia

Harry Walker

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University of California Press img Link Publisher

Geisteswissenschaften, Kunst, Musik / Pädagogik

Beschreibung

What does it mean to be accompanied? How can autonomy and a sense of self emerge through one’s involvement with others? This book examines the formation of self among the Urarina, an Amazonian people of lowland Peru. Based on detailed ethnography, the analysis highlights the role of intimate but asymmetrical attachments and dependencies which begin in the womb, but can extend beyond human society to include a variety of animals, plants, spirits and material objects. It thereby raises fundamental questions about what it means to be alive, to be an experiencing subject, and to be human. From the highly personalized relationships that develop between babies and their hammocks, to the demonstrations of love and respect between spouses and the power asymmetries that structure encounters between shamans and spirits, hunters and game animals, or owners and pets, what emerges is a strong sense that the lived experience of togetherness lies at the heart of the human condition. Recognizing this relational quality of existence enables us to see how acting effectively in the world may be less a matter of individual self-assertion than learning how to elicit empathetic acts of care and attentiveness by endearing oneself to others.

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south american culture, south american philosophies, home school science books, psychology, ethnography, archaeology, amazonian studies, different cultures, easy to read, learning while reading, distractions for kids, politics, amazonian history, life in south america, nonfiction books, urarina, engaging, social science, anthropology, south american history, amazonian culture, biodiversity, south american politics, cultural science, home school history books, human society