Yanomami Warfare: A Political History

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9780933452381: Yanomami Warfare: A Political History
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Yanomami Warfare: A Political History is the definitive study of the role of Western contact in generating disease, war and political strife among the Yanomami, from the slave raiding of the 17th century to the massacre at Haximu in 1993. Ferguson challenges the view of the Yanomami as the "fierce people." He argues persuasively that in the Amazon region, as elsewhere, the influence of expanding neighboring state systems has increased the propensity for violence among tribal peoples.

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Generations of college students know the Yanomami people of the Brazil-Venezuela border country as the preeminent example of "natural" aggression in human society. The reputedly isolated Yanomami have been portrayed as engaging in almost constant warfare over women, status, and revenge. Their behavior has been said to reveal the purely violent side of human nature. In Yanomami Warfare, R. Brian Ferguson shows that the Yanomami, far from living in pristine isolation, have been subject to periodic waves of Western encroachment for the last 350 years. Documenting this history of contact in comprehensive detail, the author debunks the popular misconception of the unacculturated Yanomami while creating a framework for understanding their remarkable history of violence. Ferguson argues persuasively that the Yanomami make war not because Western influence is absent, but because it is present. Examining every recorded instance of warfare among the Yanomami, the author finds strong support for his contention that the intensive and bloody conflicts for which some Yanomami are known are a product of specific historical situations rather than an expression of the indigenous culture. In the Amazon region, as elsewhere, the influence of expanding neighboring state systems has increased the propensity for violence among tribal peoples.

About the Author:

R. Brian Ferguson is an associate professor of anthropology at Rutgers University.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780933452411: Yanomami Warfare: A Political History (A School for Advanced Research Resident Scholar Book)

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ISBN 10:  0933452411 ISBN 13:  9780933452411
Publisher: School for Advanced Research Press, 1995
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