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

Buitron Arias, Natalia (2019) Autonomy, productiveness, and community: the rise of inequality in an Amazonian society. The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, 26 (1). ISSN 1359-0987 (In Press)

[img] Text (Buitron - Accepted - JRAI - July 19) - Accepted Version
Pending embargo until 1 January 2100.

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Abstract

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, are central to the transformation of egalitarianism that occurs when small-scale Amazonian polities engage with nation-state politics.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2019 Royal Anthropological Institute
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: 23 Aug 2019 23:10
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/101192

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