2 Qs abt S.American Ethnology

Rob Quinlan (C611417@MIZZOU1.MISSOURI.EDU)
Sat, 20 Aug 1994 13:19:31 CDT

I'm new to this list so I thought I would test the waters with a couple
of questions.

1. I'm trying to put together a reading list on S.American ethnology/ethnograp
hy. I'm particularly interested in the northern part of the continent and not
very interested in the Andes. I wonder if anyone out there would be willing to
give me a few pointers. Recent publications would be especially useful, and I
would also be interested in course materials. I'd also post the list if anyone
else would find it useful.

2. I've been reading P. Riviere (1984) Individual and Society in Guiana: A Co
mparative Study of Amerindian Social Organization. Cambridge U. Press.
It deals with groups like the Piaroa, Yek'wana, Pemon, Trio, etc.
For me it raised an interesting question abt the behavior of marriageable
cross-cousins. Kinship terminology in the area is either Crow or Omaha. Resid
ence tends to be uxorilocal because of bride service. Also, there is an expres
sed preference for village endogamy. Villages vary in size, but tend to be
less than 50 or so souls. The interesting thing is that the relationships of
marriageable cousins is either familiar (e.g. Piaroa, Yek'wana, and Trio)
or avoidant (e.g. Panare, and Pemon). I kind of suspect that the Panare and
Pemon more often achieve the ideal of village endogamy than the other groups
do, and that avoiding one's cross-cousin is a way of getting around the
kibbutz "syndrome". Probably, the frequency of coresident cousin marriage is
a result of some other factor like population density or the need to guard
important resources. I don't know and the author doesn't address the issue in
that particular chapter. Is this the oldest idea in the world or what?
Does anyone know of some published work on this topic? I haven't yet done much
research on the topic so please excuse me if this posting is premature. At any
rate, I would really appreciate any comments on these questions.

Rob Quinlan
Grad. Student U. of Missouri-Columbia