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The Theft of the Jaguar’s Fire is not Property in Indigenous Central Brazil

Anthropological Enquiries into Policy, Debt, Business, and Capitalism

ISBN: 978-1-83909-659-4, eISBN: 978-1-83909-658-7

ISSN: 0190-1281

Publication date: 9 June 2020

Abstract

This chapter deals with different perspectives and structural transformations between capitalist society and indigenous ways of life. I approach the A’uwẽ-Xavante myth of the theft of the jaguar’s fire, one of many versions of the story of the bird-nester, which Lévi-Strauss interprets as the acquisition of culture through cooking technique. I compare it with Proudhon’s study on property as the theft of collective force which he treats as the groundwork of the manufacturing process in capitalist society. This highlights the difference between Proudhon’s ideal mutualism, based on free access to means of production and polytechnic education, and the A’uwẽ-Xavante’s acquisition of power and its technical reproduction. Proudhon’s mutualism envisages auto-organization of collective force in cooperative work favoring its collective appropriation by the workers; while in the A’uwẽ-Xavante way of life, there is an off-centered collective force from which technical acquisition is redistributed. In common with Proudhon’s ideal labor mutualism, A’uwẽ-Xavante’s ways welcome outsiders to their means of production of people; but unlike Proudhon’s, this welcome is not for free: they have to prove their generosity and personal commitment to the game.

Keywords

Citation

Falleiros, G.L.J. (2020), "The Theft of the Jaguar’s Fire is not Property in Indigenous Central Brazil", Wood, D.C. (Ed.) Anthropological Enquiries into Policy, Debt, Business, and Capitalism (Research in Economic Anthropology, Vol. 40), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 219-241. https://doi.org/10.1108/S0190-128120200000040012

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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