Gender, Power, and Mobility among the Awá-Guajá (Maranhão, Brazil)

Citation:

Hernando, Almudena, Gustavo Politis, Alfredo González Ruibal, and Elizabeth Beserra Coelho. 2011. “Gender, Power, and Mobility among the Awá-Guajá (Maranhão, Brazil).” Journal of Anthropological Research 67 (2): 189–211.

Authors: Almudena Hernando, Gustavo Politis, Alfredo González Ruibal, Elizabeth Beserra Coelho

Abstract:

The Awá (also known as Guajá) are hunter-gatherers whose way of life prior to their first contact with Brazilian society has been altered after relocation to a reservation. Basically, their mobility is reduced and they have been forced to start cultivation. Although these changes are beginning to affect women's social role, the traditional power relationships can still be inferred from the present conditions. The aim of this paper is twofold: (1) to argue that, in otherwise "egalitarian" societies, the differences in physical mobility involved in the complementary tasks carried out by men and women may account for gender inequality on the symbolic domain, given that mobility is a key factor in the construction of personhood in contexts of "relational, "non-individualized identity; and (2) to check the validity of that assumption in the light of fieldwork data about gender relationships among the Awá-Guajá.

Topics: Gender, Gender Roles, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Indigenous Regions: Americas, South America Countries: Brazil

Year: 2011

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