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Accepted Paper:

‘Just like the mestizos’: how Juntos conditional cash-transfers transform Shipibo childhoods in Peruvian Amazonia  
Thaís de Carvalho (Open University)

Paper short abstract:

In 2014, Peru declared that Indigenous peoples in Amazonia are ‘extremely poor’. Since then, the lives of Shipibo children are permeated by social programmes. This paper looks at how State interventions are altering household dynamics and childhood experiences in a rural Shipibo village.

Paper long abstract:

Shipibo-Konibo parents and elders complain that younger generations are becoming like the mestizos. They are lazier, weaker and lack interest in Shipibo culture. The responsibility for this change is mostly placed on children’s themselves, but also on the school, ‘where they learn to value modernity’. Shipibo children are at the centre of development policies in Peru. Since 2014, when the country adopted a geographical criterium for the socioeconomic assessment of Indigenous peoples, the native communities in Amazonia are officially classified as ‘extremely poor’. Subsequently, existing social programmes were strengthened in the region and now govern a large portion of children’s lives. With the aim to safeguard the wellbeing of children, the State provides recognised Shipibo communities with conditional cash-transfers (Juntos) and industrialised school meals (Qali Warma). But those programmes come with formal and informal conditionalities, promoting changes in children’s livelihood strategies and food habits. For instance, children spend time in a school without classes instead of learning from their caregivers. They are also more reliant on industrialised food (e.g. canned tuna and dry pasta) than in the local cuisine (based on plantain and fish). Apart from consequences in knowledge transmission and nutrient provision, these changes can be grave as they affect the formation of Shipibo personhood and communal values. Considering parental frustrations with children, I will grapple with the changes of children’s routines and evaluate their detachment from Shipibo modes of living. Then, I will discuss how modern values of childhood, which guide the implementation of social programmes by government staff, may impact cultural transmission and produce this generational gap. The paper acknowledges the importance of State compensation for Shipibo communities, since they endure increasing precarities with the unequal development of Amazonia. However, I argue that Shipibo cosmologies should be valued and incorporated by social programmes.

Panel Heal04
Household returns: rethinking the household through new biomedical models and welfare practices
  Session 1 Tuesday 30 March, 2021, -