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The Chaco Skies

A Socio-cultural History of Power Relations

Alejandro Martín López and Agustina Altman

This article looks into notions of the sky among the Guaycurú aboriginal groups in the Argentine Chaco within the context of the socio-religious changes they have undergone since the eighteenth century. By using ethno-astronomy and anthropology of religion perspectives, and based on our own ethnographic and documentary work, we have analyzed both the continuities and the ruptures in the Guaycurú skies. In doing so, we have found that social relations between humans and non-humans shape the Guaycurú experience of celestial space. These bonds have a strongly political character as they are structured around power asymmetries. The colonial experience, including Christian missions, has imposed modernity on these groups as an overall horizon of possibilities. However, the Guaycurú have sought to redefine modernity, creating their own ‘modernity paths’.

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Sorcery, Revenge, and Anti-Revenge

Relational Excess and Individuation in the Gran Chaco

Florencia Tola

This article focuses on sorcery, revenge, and anti-revenge among the Qom people in Argentina. For them, death is the result of sorcery or a shamanic attack. When a relative dies, the family may decide to avenge him through practices performed on his body. Nonetheless, under specific circumstances relatives decide not to take revenge, performing what I refer to as ‘anti-revenge’. Ethnographic analysis of relations among victims, aggressors, and avengers reveals how alternation between relational excess and fissures makes individuation possible. The processes responsible for the composite character of personhood lead to a relational excess that needs to be restrained. The relation between revenge and anti-revenge is a key aspect of a Qom understanding of personhood, in which individuation needs to be achieved to avoid indifferentiation.

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Kathleen Lowrey, Eben Kirksey, Julie Velásquez Runk, Jessica O'Reilly, Melissa Checker, Juliana Essen, Rebecca Mari Meuninck, Jason Roberts, Yu Huang, James H. McDonald, Wendy R. Townsend, Robert Fletcher, Megan Tracy and E.N. Anderson

BLASER, Mario, Storytelling Globalization from the Chaco and Beyond

HALVERSON, Anders, An Entirely Synthetic Fish: How Rainbow Trout Beguiled America and Overran the World

HECKLER, Serena, Landscape, Process, and Power: Re-Evaluating Traditional Environmental Knowledge

HELMREICH, Stefan, Alien Ocean: Anthropological Voyages in Microbial Seas

HOLIFIELD, Ryan, Michael PORTER, and Gordon WALKER, eds., Spaces of Environmental Justice

LANSING, J. Stephen, Perfect Order: Recognizing Complexity in Bali

LYON, Sarah, and Mark MOBERG, eds., Fair Trade and Social Justice: Global Ethnographies

MARSH, Kevin R., Drawing Lines in the Forest: Creating Wilderness in the Pacific Northwest

MUSCOLINO, Micah S., Fishing Wars and Environmental Change in Late Imperial and Modern China

PERRAMOND, Eric P., Political Ecologies of Cattle Ranching in Northern Mexico: Private Revolutions

RINGHOFER, Lisa, Fishing, Foraging and Farming in the Bolivian Amazon: On a Local Society in Transition

SCHELHAS, John, and Max J. PFEFFER, Saving Forests, Protecting People? Environmental Conservation in Central America

TRUBEK, Amy B., The Taste of Place: A Cultural Journey into Terroir

VAYDA, Andrew P., Explaining Human Actions and Environmental Changes