Engaging in politics: Yanomami strategies in the face of Venezuela's national frontier expansion
AdvisorBasso, Ellen B.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThis dissertation explores from an historical and political perspective the rapid engagement and incorporation of the Yanomami of the Alto Orinoco as citizens into the Venezuelan national dynamics. It accounts for the Yanomami's multiple adaptive responses by which they reconcile cultural differences between their habitual ways of life and the new political structures of national society. Specifically, the major concern is to explore the influences on political organization, ethnic identities, and social relationships emerging from the linkage and interaction between the nation-state's structures and the Alto Orinoco Yanomami. The gradual participation of Yanomami men and women in national political institutions such as the Alto Orinoco Municipality, political parties, and electoral processes has led them to develop different strategies of accommodation to these novel governmental entities. This study examines how the Yanomami of the Alto Orinoco, Amazonas State, Venezuela, react to the expansion of the national political structures through diverse strategies of accommodation and negotiation. These strategies refer to the Yanomami's adaptive and selective responses to intercultural experiences undergone because of external agents. These indigenous responses have not just implied collective forms of organization or general consensus in decision-making among community members, but also random and individual actions asserted in order to meet their personal needs and desires within a wider context of the Venezuelan national society. By examining these actions, I analyze from an historical approach the cultural encounters and the cultural resilience displayed by those Yanomami who have lived under the influence of missionaries, criollo groups, and other indigenous peoples. The ultimate purpose is to reveal how Yanomami past and present behaviors challenge the assumptions that "relatively isolated" indigenous peoples are merely passive receivers of assimilation processes provoked by national expansion. On the contrary, they have been very active choosing their means of adaptation to coping with the national frontier expansion.
Degree ProgramGraduate College