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Uywaña: attentionality and relational practices in the Andes and beyond I
Koen de Munter (Universidad Alberto Hurtado, Santiago de Chile)
Daniela Salvucci (Free University of Bolzano-Bozen)
Koen de Munter & Daniela Salvucci
Denise Arnold (Universidad Mayor de San Andrés) and Juan Javier Rivera Andia (University of Konstanz)
Time zone:
Tuesday 21 July, 14:00-15:45

Short abstract:

Drawing on Ingold's recent writings and on the indigenous concept-practice uywaña, we focus on how people 'learn' through ritual and everyday practices to be attentive to the 'relationality' between different lines of life in Andean contexts and beyond, highlighting the idea of "attentionality".

Long abstract:

In the last decades, new anthropological horizons have emerged thanks to non-European, often indigenous, practice-inspired concepts that have put into question Western epistemologies and helped, at the same time, to overcome the impasse of radical deconstructionism. Among these concepts, 'relationality', referring to ongoing relations between 'humans and non-humans', has become one of the most discussed, linked to relational 'epistemologies' and 'ontologies'. Going beyond the so-called 'ontological turn' debates and avoiding the pluralizing of ontology, we explore the path proposed by Ingold (2015) and conceive of relationality as a meshwork of lifelines, inviting scholars to focus on how relational enskilment is being achieved through ritual and everyday practices in Andean contexts and beyond. Following Ingold's anthropology of life, "human correspondence" entails relations between 'becomings' by virtue of 'attentionality' rather than 'intentionality', and emerges through practices of education by attention. How do people 'learn' along ritual and everyday practices to be attentive to (paying attention to, caring and longing for) the vital 'relationality' of the different lines that bring forth the meshwork of our being-alive, amidst a 'messy' world under threat (Tsing, Haraway)? The Aymara and Quechua concept-practice uywaña, thus, turns out to be a central one. As a verb -related to Ingold's "humaning"- it refers to rearing and letting oneself be reared, and also to fostering and protecting (said of the uywiri mountains, for instance). This interspecies notion implies that 'agency' is promoted within an 'attentional field', including human and non-human beings, meteorological and geological elements and 'sacred' presences.