Remembering the auca: Violence and Generational Memory in Amazonian Ecuador

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In Amazonian Ecuador and beyond, indigenous Waorani people have received considerable attention for their history of revenge killings during much of the twentieth century. In pointing to the heterogeneous forms of social memory assigned to specific generations, the article describes how oral histories and public performances of past violence mediate changing forms of sociality. While the victim's perspective in oral histories is fundamental to Waorani notions of personhood and ethnic identity, young men acquire the symbolic role of ?wild? Amazonian killers in public performances of the past. Rather than being contradictory or competing historical representations, these multiple forms of social memory become specific generational roles in local villages and in regional inter-ethnic relations. The article suggests that, beyond the transmission of a fixed package of historical knowledge, memory is expressed in the multiple and often contrasting forms of historical representation assigned to particular kinds of people.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)719-736
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of the Royal Anthropological Institute
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 6 Nov 2009


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