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Equality without equivalence: an anthropology of the common

Walker, Harry ORCID: 0000-0001-9879-4045 (2020) Equality without equivalence: an anthropology of the common. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, 26 (1). 146 - 166. ISSN 1359-0987

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Identification Number: 10.1111/1467-9655.13183


This article elaborates an Amazonian conception of the common and the challenge it poses to Western thinking about individualism and equality. It is suggested that a number of distinctive features of Amazonian Urarina sociality may have their basis in a shared refusal of factors that give rise to relations of equivalence between people. This kind of singularism, or ‘individualism without individuals’, results from an orientation to the common as a collective resource that is antithetical to property, in which subjectivity is shaped in relation to wider ecological and affective resources that are continuously and collectively produced. This embraces not only shared economic resources, such as land or game animals, but also ways of organizing and producing affective, cognitive, and linguistic relations, ‘commonalities’ of various kinds which never reduce differences to an abstract subject, such as the individual of liberalism or the collective of socialism.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2020 The Author
Divisions: Anthropology
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
Date Deposited: 12 Feb 2020 15:32
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2021 02:48

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