Animism and Agency in the Amazonian Landscape: A Consideration of the Ontological Turn Utilizing Perspectives from Modern Runa Communities
Author(s): Rachel Johnson
Modern kichwa-speaking Runa peoples inhabit much of Ecuador’s Upper Amazon. Ethnographic study focusing on Runa communities of both the Pastaza and Napo Rivers indicate these groups share many of the views, collectively known as Amazonian Perspectivism, that characterize numerous lowland cultural groups. This paper will detail some of the ways in which Runa persons perceive and interact with their environment, focusing on relations with socially salient plants and animals thought to be persons, or rather, former persons who became distanced from human society through quilla, or "laziness." I will argue that these interactions are an important form of social and economic adaptation within a broader ontological framework in which human–nature relations take on a highly social quality. This paper will also link modern perspectival views to the archaeological past through the consideration of the ontological turn, which posits that the ancient past may be best understood through the use of modern non-western ontologies. I argue that, at present, the application of non-western ontologies is complicated by the problematic creation of theoretical abstractions grounded in such ethnographic analogy.
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Animism and Agency in the Amazonian Landscape: A Consideration of the Ontological Turn Utilizing Perspectives from Modern Runa Communities. Rachel Johnson. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 444739)
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min long: -76.289; min lat: -18.813 ; max long: -43.594; max lat: 8.494 ;
Abstract Id(s): 21690