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Chronique des Indiens Guayaki : ce que savent les Aché, chasseurs nomades du Paraguay

by Clastres, Pierre
Published by : Plon, 1972 ([Paris]) Physical details: 286 p ; 18 cm. ISBN:2266021761.
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Item type Current location Call number Status Date due Barcode
Books Books School of Celtic Studies
Room 21 - MacCana Collection
PMC 305.8 C (Browse shelf) Available (Standard Loan) 30293

Donation Ex Libris Proinsias Mac Cana.

Review This is an extraordinary anthropological document, a riveting account of a year spent living with a so-called 'savage' tribe of Indians in Paraguay in 1963. With a directness and humanity exceptionally free of Western assumptions, Clastres gives a portrait of the character and daily life of a people once hunted by white men, and now virtually extinct. This is a society in which unimaginable freedoms exist alongside the strictest of taboos. Infanticide is practised for personal convenience when a second baby is born before the first one is weaned, but the courtesy of a song must be shown to the carcass of a hunted animal which must never be viewed simply as a neutral piece of food. It is also a society where a woman has several husbands and her children treat them all equally as their fathers, while at the same time, the men sleep in precisely designated configurations alongside the woman in order of their status. Only at the very end of this time with the Indians does he make the discovery, strenuously denied during his stay, that the tribe are in fact cannibals. In seeking an understanding of these things, in an unsentimental yet sympathetic way, Clastres unravels the rich mythology of the tribe that underpins the complex structure of their lives. He stands in the great tradition of French anthropology of Durkheim and Levi-Strauss, his singular work cut short only by his early death in a car accident at the age of 43 ... this highly readable account testifies not only to a vanished people but also to the work of a man whose death was a great loss to anthropology. (Kirkus UK)

In the 1960s the anthropologist Pierre Clastres spent a year with a so-called "savage" tribe of Indians in Paraguay. This is his account of that experience, describing the tribe's daily life and habits, ritual and cosmology - and the anger which caused them to start murdering their own children.

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