Politics of regard: action and influence in lowland South America

José Antonio Kelly Marcos de Almeida Matos About the authors

Abstract

This article sketches some elements of what we suggest to call a “politics of regard” pertinent to the forms of action and organization of indigenous collectives in the lowlands of South America. The purpose is to analyze the relation between two Strathernian ideas with applicability in the region: a) any meaningful action could be explained, understood or justified as involving the separation between a person who acts and another person taken as the cause of action; and b) being recognized as a person, or occupying the place of a moral agent, implies being under the regard of another person. Considering these two ideas, we also revisit some classic themes of the ethnological literature, namely: the relation between power and coercion, and the theme of the masters-owners.

Key words:
Agency; Influence; Indigenous peoples; Power

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