Life Among the Yanomami

© 1998

Life Among the Yanomami builds on literature and the author's personal experience of the northern Brazil people, the Mucajai Yanomami, with whom he lived from 1958 to 1967 and whom he has since frequently visited. The result is a rich and well-rounded understanding of this famously isolated people. While considerable detail of traditional way of life is provided, particular attention is devoted to the realities of social change arising from initial exposure to missionaries (of whom the author was one) to the more recent pressures from mining and the intervention of government and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs). Family and village life, health and health care, demography, politicization (that includes Yanomami criticism of Western Society), and on cultural survival are among the key issues explored by Peters—compelling issues for indigenous peoples the world over.

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Product Details

  • Series: Teaching Culture: UTP Ethnographies for the Classroom
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 304 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.6in x 9.0in
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SKU# HE000142

  • PUBLISHED JUN 1998

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    Regular Price: $32.95

    ISBN 9781551111933
  • PUBLISHED JUN 1998
    From: $26.95

Quick Overview

This is a very comprehensive and detailed account of the Yanomami people in Brazil.

Life Among the Yanomami

© 1998

Life Among the Yanomami builds on literature and the author's personal experience of the northern Brazil people, the Mucajai Yanomami, with whom he lived from 1958 to 1967 and whom he has since frequently visited. The result is a rich and well-rounded understanding of this famously isolated people. While considerable detail of traditional way of life is provided, particular attention is devoted to the realities of social change arising from initial exposure to missionaries (of whom the author was one) to the more recent pressures from mining and the intervention of government and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs). Family and village life, health and health care, demography, politicization (that includes Yanomami criticism of Western Society), and on cultural survival are among the key issues explored by Peters—compelling issues for indigenous peoples the world over.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • Series: Teaching Culture: UTP Ethnographies for the Classroom
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 304 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.6in x 9.0in
  • Reviews

    This is by far the most comprehensive and detailed account of the Yanomami available. Peters brings a uniquely informed perspective to his study, the result of having lived with his wife and family among the Yanomami for several years. He uses this experience to provide invaluable insights not only into the everyday life of the Yanomami, but also into usually neglected historical, sociopolitical, and demographic issues, and into the continuing health crisis precipitated by the illegal invasion of gold miners. An indispensable book for reading and for reference. Thanks for the opportunity to read this wonderful and significant work.


    Leslie E. Sponsel, Professor of Anthropology, University of Hawaii, Former Chair of the Commission for Human Rights of the American Anthropological Association, and editor of Indigenous Peoples and the Future of Amazonia
  • Author Information

    John F. Peters is a professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Wilfrid Laurier University, where he initiated and now coordinates the Development and International Studies Program. He is co-author of The Population Dynamics of the Mucajai Yanomami.

  • Table of contents

    Preface
    List of Maps and Figures
    Glossary of Terms

    1. Yanomami, Xilixana, and the Anthropological Approach
    Commonalities and Contrasts
    The Clash of Cultures
    The Yanomami: Why Study Them?
    Cross-Cultural Research: The Academic Component
    The Author's Own Journey
    Recent Xilixana History: The Basics
     
    Part I. The Xilixana Way of Life
    2. Field Entry, Language-Learning and Cultural Surprises
    The Challenge of Language
    Contrasts in Culture: Startling Differences
    Data-Gathering: Pursuits of Peril and Pleasure
    The Researcher in the Field

    3. Village Life and Social Culture: Basic Patterns
    Village Composition and Decision-Making
    Death, Burial, and Cremation
    The Yãimo
    Village Fissions, Population, and Distribution

    4. Everyday Life: Food and Child Care, Hunting and Fishing
    Daily Village Life
    Hunting and Fishing
    The Products of the Land
    Agriculture
    The Tools of Life

    5. Family and Social Organization
    Relationship Terminology and Acceptable Sexual Partners
    Marriage
    Feuds
    Conception and Birthing
    Bride Service and Bride Payment
    Marriage Fragility and Termination
    Gender Roles and the Status of Women

    6. Socialization and Life Stages
    Stage I: Total Dependence
    Stage II: Early Childhood
    Stage III: Later Childhood
    Stage IV: Premarriage; and Puberty and Marriage
    Stage V: Male First Family of Procreation; Female Childbearing and Childrearing
    Stage VI: Male Second Family of Procreation; Female Post-Childrearing
    Stage VII: Appendage
    Summary of Stages in the Life Cycle

    7. Myths, Spirits and Magic
    Myths
    Spirits
    Alawalik Substances
    Taboos
    Part II. Past and Present: The Xilixana Then and Now
    8. The Precontact Period: A Time of Isolation
    Learning Xilixana History
    The Early History
    The Xilixana and Other Encounters
    Quest for Tools

    9. Postcontact History: Enter the Missionaries
    Missionary Contact with the Xilixana
    Land Expedition to the Aica
    The Further History of the Mission Organization
    Missionary Relations

    10. The Missionary Presence: Translation, Literacy and Social Effects
    Daily Life and Mission Tasks
    Maintaining the Mission Station
    Literacy Teaching
    The Impact of Christian Teaching
    The Missionary Presence: Mixed Results

    11. "Warfare," Raids, and Revenge
    The Roots of "Warfare"
    Intervillage Killings
    The Motivations for Violence and Warfare
    Clashes with Miners
    The Cultural Norms of Violence

    Part III. Social Change
    12. Adaptation in a Precapitalist Society: Agents of Change
    The Brazilian Influence
    Other Yanomami
    Missionaries
    Missionaries and the Dynamics of Change

    13. Health as an Agent of Change
    Xilixana Modes of Treating Illness
    Missionaries and Health Care
    Health Treatment Facilities and Organizations
    The Treatment of Diseases
    The Struggle for Yanomami Health Control: Remaining Questions

    14. Broader Considerations in the Study of Social Change
    The Dynamics of Yanomami Social Change
    Change Agents, and Direct Effects
    Exchange and Reciprocity

    15. Reflections on Social Change among the Yanomami
    Culture and Social Change
    Social Change: Problems, Bias, and Ethics
    A response to Change among the Yanomami
    The Clash of Values Revisited
    Conclusion
    Appendix: Language-Learning
    References
    Index

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