Library Header Image
LSE Research Online LSE Library Services

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

Buitron, Natalia (2020) Autonomy, productiveness, and community: the rise of inequality in an Amazonian society. The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, 26 (1). 48 - 66. ISSN 1359-0987

[img] Text (Buitron-2020-Journal_of_the_Royal_Anthropological_Institute) - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (264kB)

Identification Number: 10.1111/1467-9655.13180


In 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.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2020 The Author
Divisions: Anthropology
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
Date Deposited: 19 Jul 2019 09:09
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2021 00:57

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics