9851 - Changing values: Mobile phones and soft drinks in Apiao, Chiloé, Southern Chile

This paper is based on ethnographic fieldwork conducted on the island of Apiao, Chiloé, Southern Chile. It addresses the growing presence of modernity in Apiao, and specifically of electronic apparatuses. The strong presence of elaborate mobile phones, colour TVs, mp3 players seems to contrast with the traditional beliefs surrounding the dead, the miraculous saints and the witches. People keep a strong attachment to tradition and at the same time decide to devote long hours of hard work to buy mobile phones and colour TVs with complex, hard to understand technologies. In what ways is this recent attachment to technology significant, and what does it tell anthropology? Middle class values are growing in a remote island community that, until recently, used to revolve around reciprocal exchange of local products. Modern artifacts seem to incorporate new values that are rapidly being internalized. Much of this change is due to the local migrants to Argentina that regularly visit their relatives, bringing technology back. This paper attempts to understand and analyze the reasons behind rapid changes in a small subsistence community and is informed by anthropological theories of consumption as well as ethnographies of Amerindian peoples and their attitudes to modern artifacts.

Keywords: consumption, indigenous people, modernity

Author: Bacchiddu, Giovanna (St Andrews University, Italy / Italien)


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