Egalitarianism is Hierarchy, Autonomy is Mutuality




Natalia Buitron (Cambridge) and Hans Steinmuller (LSE) will be talking both LIVE @UCLAnthropology Dept and on ZOOM on Tues Nov 7 about their research in political anthropology. They write:

Egalitarianism and hierarchy usually hang together, as both are based on commensuration and scale. As such, they contrast with autonomy and mutuality, which require a level of incommensurability. In this presentation we explore the differences between egalitarianism and autonomy, including the political aspirations, the contradictions, and the nightmares of each. We do so on the basis of our own ethnographic and historical work among the Shuar of the Ecuadorian Amazon and the Wa of SE Asia, as well as an ongoing collaborative project on ‘nightmare egalitarianism’

Natalia Buitron is Jessica Sainsbury Lecturer in the Anthropology of Amazonia at Cambridge University.  She has done ethnographic fieldwork in Ecuadorian
Amazonia, where she explores political selfhood, village/state formation, and moral change. Her current project is about indigenous sovereignties. 

Hans Steinmüller is Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the London School of Economics. He has done ethnographic fieldwork in Enshi (central China) and in the Wa Hills of the China-Burma border, and writes about attention, care, irony, and sovereignty, among other things.

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