chapter
14 Pages

Introduction

WithCecilia McCallum

This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book demonstrates that a binary distinction between ‘male’ and ‘female’ structures social life in the Amazonian societies under focus, but that it does not underwrite a power ‘structure’. In 1991 Gow published his analysis of Piro kinship and economy, developing a processual model of their mutual constitution in the socio-economic cycle linking production, distribution and consumption to reproduction, the making of people. Cashinahua people have lived for many centuries in the upper Jurua and Purus area, in the tropical forest region at present divided by the frontier between Peru and Brazil. The Cashinahua are important players in this scene, as might be expected, for theirs is the largest local indigenous population in Acre. The rubber boom, in full swing in 1892, provided the impetus to the events that so changed Cashinahua people’s lives.