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Accepted Paper:

The State prior to the State itself: Sovereignty and otherness in Lowland South America ethnographic village plans  

Author:

Jordi A. López Lillo (Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC))

Paper short abstract:

This paper will discuss the connection between identity and space patterns on the basis of the ethnographic record of so-called egalitarian societies. Its point will be that despite the trascendental deviation of State societies, principles structuring all human experience are essentially the same.

Paper long abstract:

Despite that was not its original purpose, the term "centrifugal logic" used by Pierre Clastres in 1977 to characterize the so-called primitive societies -which he himself had better defined as societies against the State- gave some insight on their spatial arrangement, at least in the middle range. Not for nothing, Cultural Ecology was pointing at the same time to "environmental blockages" as the most probable historical scenarios for increasing social stratification towards the State; an hypothesis not debunked, but merely ignored together with virtually all materialist approach during the following decades. This paper has a twofold aim given that context. Firstly, it implies an attempt to define such a centrality, avoided by human actors within society but in turn starting point of any social interaction. In order to do so, it will readress the processes of identity construction in Lowland South America from the point of view of current Theories of practice. On the other hand, it will explore the spatial materialization of this kind of operative logics in an even lower, basic level by broaching and linking together another discussion thread: the one regarding village structural patterns, boosted by the wellknown reflections of Claude Lévi-Strauss on circularity and segmentation. This last exercise will be of particular relevance since case studies on recently reduced populations stress how national and international foreigners are experimented and signified beyond "cultural humanity"; a phenomenon that might shed new light on the precise nature of the political accidents which historically resulted in longstanting State societies.

Panel B15
Indigenous peoples, territory and politics