5237 - Yanomami Studies: Past, Present, and Future

Two complementary themes are explored in this paper: first, the history of changes in how anthropologists have related to and represented the Yanomami; second, approaches toward ever more ethically responsible and socially relevant and responsive research in the future about, for, and by this vulnerable indigenous population and culture. Extending over a period of more than three centuries the Yanomami are one of the most researched indigenous cultures anywhere in the world, even though this fact is all but unrecognized within the scientific discipline of anthropology and especially within the general public. This extensive research has developed through at least six more or less successive phases each with its distinctive agents, approaches, focus, and pros and cons, although there are continuities over time as well. These phases in research largely reflect the changing political economy of the region and of anthropology itself: exploration ethnography, salvage ethnography, anthropology of war, applied anthropology, postmodern anthropology, and indigenous anthropology.

This intellectual history of Yanomami studies is particularly important to systematically record because it is little known beyond a few Yanomami specialists; to place the controversy over Darkness in El Dorado in a broader perspective and thereby to more fully appreciate its practical and especially ethical significance; and as background for ongoing and future research.

The penultimate section of this paper examines the relevance of human rights as a conceptual and advocacy framework for future basic and applied research with the Yanomami and other indigenous peoples as well as a means to further decolonize anthropology and its often associated scientism and careerism. Finally the paper concludes by comparing the advantages and disadvantages of the indigenous anthropology and Western anthropology of the Yanomami.

Palavras-chaves: Amazon, Yanomami, human rights, ethics, advocacy

Autores: Sponsel, Leslie (University of Hawai`i, Ud States of Am / USA)


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