Language, Ritual, and Relationality in Brazil's Xingu Indigenous Park
Like human groups everywhere, Wauja people construct their identity in relation to others. This book tells the story of the Wauja group from the Xingu Indigenous Park in central Brazil and its relation to powerful new interlocutors. Tracing Wauja interactions with others, Ball depicts expanding scales of social action from the village to the wider field of the park and finally abroad.
Throughout, the author analyzes language use in ritual settings to show how Wauja people construct relationships with powerful spirit-monsters, ancestors, and ethnic trading partners. Ball's use of ritual as an analytic category helps show how Wauja interactions with spirits and Indian neighbors, for example, are connected to interactions with the Brazilian government, international NGOs, and museums in projects of development. Showing ritual as a contributing factor to relationships of development and the politics of indigeneity, Exchanging Words asks how discourse, ritual, and exchange come together to mediate social relations close to home and on a global scale.
Christopher Ball is an assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Notre Dame. A linguistic and cultural anthropologist, he has worked with Wauja people in Brazil's Upper Xingu since 2005.
"Exchanging Words should . . . be widely read by people interested in conservation, development, and international relations."--John Walker, Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology
"The chapters in this book are rather ingeniously organized into sections that take the reader from the center of the Wauja's village progressively outward into the PIX, Amazonia, and ultimately to foreign spaces, focusing at each step on how Wauja manage their social relations with others through ritualized language and exchange."--Eric Hoenes del Pinal, The Latin Americanist
"Cultural continuity is . . . an underlying theme throughout the book, and Ball does well in addressing the subtleties and complexities of this issue at various points. The structure of the book brings cohesion to the ethnographically rich material."--Jessica Fae Nelson, Journal of Linguistic Anthropology
"An insightful contribution to scholarship on language, indigeneity, and development politics."--Zachary Lazarus, Language in Society
"As a study of language, ritual, and relation building, the book delivers what it promises. Ball has done a fine job of creating a thread of connection through very disparate subjects, and his authorial voice is very appealing."--Reading Religion
Chapter One. Introduction
Part One. In the Village
Chapter Two. Chief's Speech: Wauja Ancestors, Political Authority, and Belonging
Chapter Three. Bringing Spirits: Ritual Curing and Wauja Relations with Spirits
Part Two. In the Park
Chapter Four. Kuri Sings: Intergroup Rivalry and Alter-Centricity
Chapter Five. Inalienability: Possession and Exchange in Intergroup Relations
Part Three. Out of the Park
Chapter Six. Interdiscursive Rivers: Protesting the Paranatinga II Dam
Chapter Seven. Pragmatics of Development: Asymmetries in Interethnic Exchange
Chapter Eight. Taking Spirits to France: Wauja Identity on a World Stage
Chapter Nine. Conclusion: What We Owe
School for Advanced Research Press