Accepted paper:

The immediation of the divine. Notes on Mapuche spiritual entanglement.


Andrés González Dinamarca (Universidad de Chile)

Paper short abstract:

Several interpretations on the 'religious system' of the Mapuche have been developed over the latest century, most if not all of the time rooted in an 'external' auto-placement of the observer. I discuss these analyses from an ethnographic critical review of the nature of Mapuche spirits.

Paper long abstract:

This paper aims to discuss the place of the Mapuche spirituality within and outside the modern society of Chile, by confronting the very roots of their respective ontologies. In this way, it must be noted that even if the very category of 'spirit' as a master signifier which procedes from hegemonic western languages forcely leads to a miscomprehenssion about what could be called the 'spiritual life' of the Mapuche, yet it pervives in most of everyday and ceremonial practices and discourses, commonly treated by ethnologists as 'beliefs' or less, but actually being more close to an empirical based corpus of knowledge than usually admited. Thus, Mapuche spiritual categories will be explored in order to develop (or unreveal) a 'language of spirituality' on its own terms, which can give light to certain controversial topics such as what is the actual nature of the indigenous 'faith', whose are the so called 'deities' of a 'pantheon' in classic literature, and so on. This critical review, rooted on an ethnographic work systematically held since 2015, will finally permit to debate the political status of anthropologists's heterologies, since representation may have been influenting a major transformation of the experience through various instances of mediation, in such a way that not only interpellates the traditional imagery of a neutral positioning of the researcher, but remarks the need for reset the coordinates of a discussion that has been monopolized by a 'scientific' skepticism whose main assumptions actively oppose the foundations of indigenous spiritual life.

panel A03
Entangled engagements: anthropology's holistic approach to the Global Challenges