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Under a Watchful Eye: Self, Power, and Intimacy in Amazonia

by Harry Walker

What does it mean to be accompanied? How can autonomy and a sense of self emerge through one's involvement with others? This book examines the formation of self among the Urarina, an Amazonian people of lowland Peru. Based on detailed ethnography, the analysis highlights the role of intimate but asymmetrical attachments and dependencies which begin in the womb, but can extend beyond human society to include a variety of animals, plants, spirits and material objects. It thereby raises fundamental questions about what it means to be alive, to be an experiencing subject, and to be human. From the highly personalized relationships that develop between babies and their hammocks, to the demonstrations of love and respect between spouses and the power asymmetries that structure encounters between shamans and spirits, hunters and game animals, or owners and pets, what emerges is a strong sense that the lived experience of togetherness lies at the heart of the human condition. Recognizing this relational quality of existence enables us to see how acting effectively in the world may be less a matter of individual self-assertion than learning how to elicit empathetic acts of care and attentiveness by endearing oneself to others.

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Select your format based upon: 1) how you want to read your book, and 2) compatibility with your reading tool. To learn more about using Bookshare with your device, visit the "Using Bookshare" page in the Help Center.

Here is an overview of the specialized formats that Bookshare offers its members with links that go to the Help Center for more information.

  • Bookshare Web Reader - a customized reading tool for Bookshare members offering all the features of DAISY with a single click of the "Read Now" link.
  • DAISY (Digital Accessible Information System) - a digital book file format. DAISY books from Bookshare are DAISY 3.0 text files that work with just about every type of access technology that reads text. Books that contain images will have the download option of ‘DAISY Text with Images’.
  • BRF (Braille Refreshable Format) - digital Braille for use with refreshable Braille devices and Braille embossers.
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