Eliran Arazi

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales

Grant number

Gr. 9514

Approve Date

October 11, 2017

Project Title

Arazi, Eliran, Ehess, Paris, France - To aid research on 'Animating Honor in the Amazon: An Analysis of the Relationship Between Social Evaluation and Power among the Cabiyari (Northwest Amazonia, Colombia),' supervised by Dr. Philippe Descola

During the heyday of the ‘Mediterranean Paradigm’ in 1960s-1990s, the concepts of honor and shame were considered universal by some scholars. Recent perspectives on divergent ontological regimes, however, point to the particularity of these concepts in terms of the ontological regime in which they may be rooted, i.e., the ‘analogist mode of identification,’ and thus call for a re-examination of these concepts. Devised as part of a wider, comparative, project, this proposed project seeks to ethnographically track the affordances of an animist ontology for the articulation of ethical projects attached to power, specifically among the Colombian Cabiyari, an ethno-linguistic indigenous group nested in the hierarchical multi-ethno-linguistic clan complex of Northwest Amazonia. In order to document and analyze Cabiyari practices and conceptions of power and social evaluation–and, crucially, the relations between them–I propose to carry out an in-depth, 18-month, fieldwork in the three Cabiyari villages, including: participation in day-to-day activities, ritual events, community meetings, and dealings with non-indigenous agents; interviews with group members; documentation of Cabiyari mythology; and a survey of territorial clan prerogatives. My research hones in on discourses and practices of hierarchy, leadership and shamanism, as well as an attentive focus on embodied and spatial articulations of social evaluation and power. Since Cabiyari contact with national Colombian society is expressed in all of the above-mentioned spheres and practices, my data archive and analysis of the relationships between social evaluation and power among the Cabiyari will also necessarily be a study of the transformations this group has been undergoing in recent decades.