Print version ISSN 0104-9313
SANTOS-GRANERO, Fernando. Hakani and the campaign against native infanticide: clashing perceptions of humanness and personhood in Brazilian Amazonia. Mana [online]. 2011, vol.17, n.1, pp. 131-159. ISSN 0104-9313. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0104-93132011000100006.
This article examines the debate on native Amazonian infanticide triggered by the lobbying of the NGO ATINI-Voice for Life in both cyberspace and the Brazilian media. It argues that this debate has been carried out in Western terms- the supposed isomorphism between the notions of 'humanness' and 'personhood'- and, as such, contributes little to understanding this unusual indigenous practice. To avoid the dual peril of 'cultural imperialism' and 'cultural relativism,' the article adopts a native point of view. The article contends that native Amazonians consider humanness and personhood as independent 'states of being.' It explores this perception through the analysis of a series of ethnographic 'snapshots' in the light of recent theoretical developments. The author concludes that rather than confirming the 'primitiveness' of native Amazonian societies, this debate exposes the fracture of the Western notion of 'human/person,' as well as the profound- but potentially positive- crisis of 'modern' Western thought.
Keywords : Amazonia; Amerindians; Infanticide; Humanness; Personhood.