In the Society of Nature: A Native Ecology in Amazonia / Edition 1

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Overview

The Achuar Indians live in the remote forest reaches of the Upper Amazon and have developed sophisticated strategies of resource management. This study documents their rich knowledge of the environment, and explains how technical knowledge of the increasingly threatened Amazonian ecosystems is interwoven with cosmological ideas that endow nature with the characteristics of society. It combines a symbolist approach with an ecological analysis, and contributes a new theory of the social construction of nature.

"English translation of author's masterful and important study, originally published in French (Paris: Maison des sciences de l'homme, 1986) and translated into Spanish (1992). Provides ethnographic description and analysis of the symbolic and technical relations of the Achuar to the Amazon environment. This pioneering model of a synthetic ecological/symbolic approach investigates dynamic interactions between techniques used in socializing nature and the symbolic systems that sustain these interactions. Overcomes previous limitations of materialist ecological and conceptual symbolic analyses. The value of this contribution is its understanding of the Achuar process of domesticating nature and of the long-run implications of this process for resource use in the Amazon environment"--Handbook of Latin American Studies, v. 57.

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Editorial Reviews

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"Philippe Descola is undoubtedly one of the most eclectic and creative thinkers in anthropology today. In the Society of Nature: A Native Ecology in Amazonia, he skillfully weaves technical and conceptual determinations into a brilliantly readable monograph on the Achuar Indians of the Peruvian/Ecuadorian border region of the Upper Amazon. The only problem with this publication is that it was not translated and published in English immediately after the original French edition appeared in 1986." Journal of Ethnobiology

"...an historical and ethnographic contribution to the study of a particularly important area of the New World, at the hinge of Amazonian and Andean high cultures. It is also...of undoubted theoretical and methodological value, one that directs anthropological thought in new directions." Claude Lévi-Strauss

"...a wealth of historical and ethnographical data on the Achuar....will introduce the curious reader into the world of an important indigenous culture." Bradley C. Bennett, Economic Botany

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Product Details

Table of Contents

General introduction; Part I. The Sphere of Nature: 1. The territorial space; 2. Landscape and cosmos; 3. Nature's beings; Part II. On the Proper Use of Nature: 4. The world of the house; 5. The world of gardens; 6. The world of the forest; 7. The world of the river; 8. Categories of practice; 9. The good life; Conclusion.
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