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Vital Diplomacy: The Ritual Everyday on a Dammed River in Amazonia

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Volume 5

Ethnography, Theory, Experiment

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Vital Diplomacy

The Ritual Everyday on a Dammed River in Amazonia

Chloe Nahum-Claudel

302 pages, 24 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78533-406-1 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (November 2017)

eISBN 978-1-78533-407-8 eBook

Hb View cartYour country: United States - Click here to remove geolocation   Buy the eBook! $34.95 Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


“Chloe Nahum-Claudel’s excellent book is the first full-length ethnography in English of the Enawenê- nawê, an Arawakan-speaking group of the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso... [It] shows how the concept of diplomacy can be used to frame indigenous struggles over rights and resources in a way which respects indigenous cosmological perspectives.” • Anthropos

“…interesting, thoughtful and well-written… a fine contribution to the ethnography of native lowland South America.” • Harry Walker, London School of Economics and Political Science


In Brazil, where forest meets savanna, new towns, agribusiness and hydroelectricity plants form a patchwork with the indigenous territories. Here, agricultural work, fishing, songs, feasts and exchanges occupy the Enawenê-nawê  for eight months of each year, during a season called Yankwa. Vital Diplomacy focuses on this major ceremonial cycle to shed new light on classic Amazonian themes such as kinship, gender, manioc cultivation and cuisine, relations with non-humans and foreigners, and the interplay of myth and practice, exploring how ritual contains and diverts the threat of violence by reconciling antagonistic spirits, coordinating social and gender divides, and channelling foreign relations and resources.

Chloe Nahum-Claudel is a Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellow in the LSE Department of Social Anthropology. She has previously held research fellowships at Pembroke College, University of Cambridge, and at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales.

Subject: Anthropology (General) Cultural Studies (General)
Area: Latin America and the Caribbean


List of Illustrations
A Note on Language


Chapter 1. Mastery and Subjection at the Fishing Dams
Chapter 2. The Fishermen Return ‘like Yakairiti’
Chapter 3. Routine Ritualism and a Festival of Abundance
Chapter 4. Affinal Diplomacy in a United, Egalitarian Society
Chapter 5. Cosmic Diplomacy: Cooking, Curing and Crafting Human Life
Chapter 6. Yankwa’s Foreign Diplomacy and Saluma’s Defiance


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