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Consuming Grief: Compassionate Cannibalism in an Amazonian Society 49593rd Edition
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Cannibalism has often been a taboo subject in Western culture. In Consuming Grief: Compassionate Cannibalism in an Amazonian Society, Beth A. Conklin brings cannibalism into a whole new light. Conklin explains the funerary cannibalistic practices of the Wari' and gives underlying causes as to why they participated in this. The Wari' are native South American Indians who live in western Brazil and eastern Bolivia in the Amazon rainforest. She argues that the reason the Wari' practice funerary (also known as mortuary or endo-) cannibalism is that they are trying to eradicate physical reminders of the person who died so the family members of the deceased can move on with their lives and not live in constant grief. Conklin successfully conveys her argument through the use of emic explanations, simple language, images and maps, and a very flowing structure (not only the structure of the book itself, but also the way that she presents arguments). Although the argument is successful, there are a few areas in which Conklin could have improved her ethnography: when using etic perspectives, she often used ideas from other researchers instead of formulating her own and she was repetitive in her use of language.
Conklin inserts herself into the book just enough to avoid seeming like an omniscient author whose argument and data was somehow miraculously discovered. She discusses her reasons for focusing on the subject matter and provides enough discussion of methods and context that students relate to her journey as much as to the lives of the Wari' about whom she so sensitively writes. Conklin is also candid about how her relationship to the subject of cross-cultural notions of grief changed over time and when her brother passed away, leaving her questioning American society's response to illness and death. Such inclusions are nicely integrated into the text so that the focus remains on the Wari', however, they do provide some insight to students as to how long-term research and one's relationship to the people in the field are complex and infrequently find expression in academic discourse. Consequently, this books is a good introduction to fieldwork, ethics in the field, and of course cultural relativism given its subject matter and Conklin's own brief discussion of European medical practices that can be considered cannibalism in their own right.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Such an intriguing read, it truly broadens your perspective and educates you past the harsh assumptions.Published 3 months ago by Maaria
Very good read. My professor for my anthropology theory class suggested it to me, and I'm glad she did. The topic is very interesting and it is pretty easy to read. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Veronica Bagley
this may not be everyone's cup of tea, but it is still a compelling read.Published 13 months ago by honey s hogue-cherry
As promised a book had marks and folds, but that doesn't get in the way of reading at all. Really satisfied! Thanks!Published 19 months ago by Daniel Y.
I had to buy this for class, but it contains pretty interesting information.Published 19 months ago by S.W.
It came promptly and was what I wanted. There was a little delay because of weather but that isn't the sellers fault. Thanks for the book!Published on January 29, 2014 by Tonya
If you are fascinated in learning about cultures different from your own, I would recommend this. It kept me interested.Published on December 6, 2013 by A.A.
One of the better books my professors have made me read. Very detailed, sometimes I was a little grossed out but overall enjoyed the book and learned something a lot. Read morePublished on February 19, 2013 by Rachel