Library Header Image
LSE Research Online LSE Library Services

Documents as displaced voice: writing among Amazonian Urarina

Walker, Harry (2016) Documents as displaced voice: writing among Amazonian Urarina. Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology, 21 (3). pp. 414-433. ISSN 1935-4932

PDF - Accepted Version
Download (357kB) | Preview
Identification Number: 10.1111/jlca.12244


Despite apparently low levels of literacy, Urarina people of Peruvian Amazonia engage enthusiastically with written documents. Focusing on their performative qualities, or what documents “do,” this article explores their use and appropriation in relation to local ideologies of language and power. While serving an important role in linking people to the Peruvian state and its highly bureaucratic political culture, it is argued that documents are especially valued, and deemed capable of extending personal influence and persuasive power, because of three overlapping capacities or tendencies. They displace or delegate voice and detach it from agency, thus constructing an image of a distant or even transcendental authority; they transduce across semiotic modalities, suggesting the mediation of relations with nonphenomenal worlds; and they fix discourse, hinting at the possibility of permanence in a fluid social environment

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2016 American Anthropological Association
Divisions: Anthropology
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
Date Deposited: 11 Nov 2016 11:39
Last Modified: 20 Aug 2021 00:31

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics