6510 - Shamanic revitalization in Western Amazonia: Contemporary mediations across multiple worlds.

Since the 1970s, Western Amazonia has witness an important revitalization of shamanic practices. This is particularly the case among the Shipibo-Conibo indigenous people: Their shamanic mediations have dramatically intensified instead of collapsing under the pressure of Western figures such as the missionary, the school system, political agents, NGOs, tourists and also with peoples’ constant interactions with cities. As Shipibo-Conibo shamanism is nowadays inserted in regional, national, and international networks, it incorporates heterogeneous influences leading to the emergence of unexpected formulations such as ‘protestant-shamans’, whose shamanic songs refer to hi-tech machines. How can the openness and plasticity of Shipibo-Conibo shamanism, which easily manipulates different forms of knowledge, be explained? This paper will explore how Shipibo-Conibo shamanism follows a transformative continuity: The ‘audacious innovations’ of the Shipibo-Conibo shamans do not operate a drastic cut with the past nor a radical substitution of previous references. Rather, shamans draw from an inclusive logic proper to their shamanic practices: They literally incorporate and cumulate different sources of knowledge in order to embody various subjectivities (such as anacondas, Incas, ‘Whites’ and machines) thereby successfully engaging in their mediations. The persistence and transformations of the Shipibo-Conibo shamanism will be examine from the shamanic standpoint. Indeed, instead of understanding shamanic conceptualizations in terms of “beliefs” or “metaphors”, the aim is to problematize such analytical categories that only seem to reproduce Western epistemologies and fails to fully recognize indigenous forms of knowledge.

Keywords: Shamanism, Religious transformation and revitalization, Cosmologies, Indigenous Amazonia, Shipibo-Conibo.

Author: Colpron, Anne-Marie (Wilfrid Laurier University, Canada / Kanada)


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