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Justice and the dark arts: law and shamanism in Amazonia

Walker, Harry ORCID: 0000-0001-9879-4045 (2015) Justice and the dark arts: law and shamanism in Amazonia. American Anthropologist, 117 (1). 47 - 58. ISSN 0002-7294

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Identification Number: 10.1111/aman.12170


The idea of “law” as a regulating force external to individuals is rapidly gaining traction among Peruvian Urarina. Its uptake and mode of use have been guided by local forms of shamanic practice, reflecting the common basis of law and shamanism in ritual and violence. Yet despite people's best efforts to deploy law on their own terms—namely as a weapon through which a higher force or authority is harnessed to individual ends—law, unlike shamanism, is inherently unifying rather than fragmenting and implies a unitary standard of truth and justice that is inimical to Amazonian political cosmology. Law epitomizes the centralizing processes of the state, promoting a fragile peace but only by establishing a monopoly on violence.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2015 by the American Anthropological Association
Divisions: Anthropology
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
Date Deposited: 13 Mar 2015 16:18
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 02:01

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