3558 - A Mapuche-German Shaman and the German Landlord Who Mimicked Her: Transformations in the Symbolic Hierarchy of People and Places and the Economy of Power

Rosa, an ethnically mixed Mapuche-German shaman in southern Chile in the late 1800s, and Schleyer, the German landowner who mimicked her ritual practices, reordered the symbolic hierarchy of people and places in the Mapuche village of Millali. Their doing so offers researchers today new understandings of the economy of power. By imitating Rosa ’ s shamanic practice in order to trick the spirits of the place into letting him find gold in their sacred hill, Schleyer inverted the accepted European and Chilean logic of progress, which put Germans at the center and Mapuche people on the periphery. His actions reverse the notion that the dominated mimic the dominators in an attempt to appropriate the dominators’ power (Taussig 1993). As a white European and the legal owner of much of the land around Millali, Schleyer held economic and political power over the people of the community, but it was only when he imitated the shaman Rosa that he was able to obtain their gold. Traditionally, the people of Millali had given the spirits gold coins in order to increase the wealth of the hill, and Rosa had asked the spirits for gold to finance a ritual for the collective good. In other words, they had subordinated accumulation to circulation. Schleyer inverted this economy of power, subordinating circulation to capitalist accumulation by keeping the gold for himself and locking out the local Mapuche

Keywords: [Shamanism, Spiritual Geographies, Economy of Power]

Author: Bacigalupo, Ana Mariella (SUNY Buffalo, Ud States of Am / USA)


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