Doing Waki in San Pablo de Lipez: Reciprocity Between the Living and the Dead

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Abstract

The A. examines two distinct but related themes. The first is the relationship between the living and the dead in Andean communities, illustrated through the ritual waki. In San Pablo de Lípez, the dead are associated with fertility and with the coming of the rains, but also require help from the living in the form of offerings of liquids and food. The term waki derives from the Andean vocabulary of reciprocal exchange, which is the second theme of the study. On the basis of historical, linguistic, and ethnographic evidence, the A. argues that exchanges are of two types, one involving long-term relationships with an expectation of return, and the other short-term transactions in which a payment completes the deal. These do not coincide with nonmonetary and monetary exchanges. He also argues that the vocabulary deriving from symmetrical reciprocal exchanges can be employed ideologically to mask the nature of unequal exchange relationships.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)379-396
Number of pages17
JournalAnthropos
Volume97
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2002

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