How do vision quests, river locations, and warriors relate to indigenous activism? For the Aguaruna, an ethnic group at the forefront of Peru's Amazonian Movement, incorporating practices and values they define as customary allows them to shape their own experience as modern indigenous subjects. As Shane Greene reveals, this customization centers on the complex articulation of meaningful social practices, cultural logics, and the political economy of specialized production and consumption.
Following decades of engagement with and resistance to state-mandated missionary education, land-titling, and international advocacy networks, the Aguaruna have faced numerous constraints in pursuit of their own political projects. Based on first-hand fieldwork, Customizing Indigeneity provides a new theoretical language for the politics of indigeneity. Documenting the dynamic between historical constraints and cultural creativity, this work provides a fresh perspective on indigenous people's agency within evolving structures of inequality, while simultaneously challenging common assumptions about scholarly engagement with marginalized populations.
About the author
Shane Greene is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Indiana University.
"Shane Greene's book will be an essential reference work for anyone involved in indigenous studies globally and most certainly for scholars of the Amazon. Greene writes well and often demonstrates a playful falir with language. . . [A]n imaginative, provocative, and, ultimately, compelling book that was a pleasure to read."
—Andrew Canessa, American Ethnologist
"Greene's book, however, shows that the clash between very different kinds of violence, that of the visionary path of the warrior and that of paper, still changes lives, and the conditions of life, in the Upper Amazon . . . [Customizing Indigeneity] makes an important contribution as the first general ethnography of the Aguaruna in English. Its virtue is that it has cleared a path for future ethnographers to try to fathom the violence of the warrior and of the rentier as well. I believe that, with the passing of time, such work will only become more important."
—Steven Rubenstein, Journal of Anthropological Research
"The volume will be of interest to scholars wrestling with the ramifications of 'culture' and to all students of Peruvian indigenous group . . . Recommended."
—D. L. Browman, Choice
"This work asks us to see how the Aguaruna have sized the modern concept of indigeneity to their own lives, and altered its very dimensions in the process. It's a smart, stylish, and superb ethnography that opens up new ways of thinking both about native Amazonia and the challenges of making sense of 21st century experience everywhere."
—Orin Starn, Duke University
"Shane Greene has written a terrific book. This is one of the most innovative and important works on indigeneity in Latin America I have read in a long time. It offers compelling insights into indigenous Amazonian politics and poetics, and contributes significantly to conversations about indigeneity and modernity in Latin America and beyond. This remarkably graceful, direct work will be read, debated, and discussed for years to come."
—Maria Elena Garcia, University of Washington