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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

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Record number 412162
Title 'Acompañarnos contentos con la familia' : unidad, diferencia y conflicto entre los Nükak (Amazonia colombiana)
Author(s) Franky Calvo, C.E.
Source University. Promotor(en): Georg Frerks, co-promotor(en): Pieter de Vries; Gerard Verschoor. - [S.l.] : S.n. - ISBN 9789085859475 - 283
Department(s) Rural Development Sociology
Chair Disaster Studies
CERES
WASS
Publication type Dissertation, internally prepared
Publication year 2011
Keyword(s) etnografie - jagers en verzamelaars - inheemse volkeren - amazonia - colombia - latijns-amerika - conflict - uitsterven - sociale structuur - ethnography - hunters and gatherers - indigenous people - latin america - extinction - social structure
Categories Conditions of Existence
Abstract The Nükak are a people of hunters and gatherers in the Colombian Amazon who call themselves Nükak baka', which can be translated as ‘the true people’. More than a name, this denomination designates a shared moral and political project that enables this people to reproduce themselves materially and socially, to guide their individual conduct, to perpetuate and fertilize the cosmos and to steer their relationships with the other peoples of the universe. In this sense this project constitutes a biopolitics, or to put it differently, it is a politics oriented toward the creation and defense of life. This thesis, therefore, is an ethnographic research about what it means for the Nükak to live as a ‘true people’. It shows that such a common project constitutes above all a set of practices that is continuously being actualized, both in terms of individual conduct as well as in terms of collective interactions and activities. These become materialized in aspects such as the preservation of the environment and the construction, and care, of the body. For that reason living as ‘true people’ is neither a given condition nor a status that once attained can be maintained until death. Being an incomplete process, for the Nükak the constitution of ‘true people’ is continuously under threat. This means that their reproduction and the continuity of the universe is always at risk. These threats originate in actions, emotions and amoral attitudes of the Nükak themselves, or of other beings in the cosmos, which express themselves in situations such as illness or inter-personal conflicts. As a result the everyday life of this group unfolds within a continuous tension between the actualization of the project of constituting ‘true people’ and the threat of biological and social extinction, even the destruction of the cosmos. From a different perspective, this thesis is concerned with practices of ‘living together’, of accompanying each other, of sharing, of establishing kin relations in order to strengthen the common, and of finding out what they have in common. It is also about how to deal with possible sources of division. Finally, the thesis sets out to show how this group actualizes a sense of unity and diversity that enables them to create Nükak baka, i.e. ‘true people’, thus articulating differences without denying them. In order to develop these topics, the thesis explores the major features of the project of creating, and living as, ‘true people’, as well as a number of strategies and mechanisms (or social dispositifs) that the Nükak have generated for its actualization. It also examines the ontological and mythical bearings, going back to the times of the creation of the cosmos, which enables us to understand, from the perspective of the Nükak, with what peoples and beings they are interacting. In this sense the thesis contributes to the actualization of basic ethnographic information and elaborates on Nükak’s theories and practices concerning social life, the body, notions of the person, relations between kin, relations with other peoples and beings in the cosmos, shamanism, and narratives about the experiences of the ancestors who form part of their historical memory. This thesis also contributes to the documentation of the impact of the armed conflict in Colombia on the Nükak, clarifying the heterogeneity and complexity of the circumstances that have led to the forced displacement of different groups of Nükak, as well as the institutional and media attention that these groups have received.
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