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Fear and loathing on the kharisiri trail: Alterity and identity in the Andes

Canessa, A (2000) 'Fear and loathing on the kharisiri trail: Alterity and identity in the Andes.' Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, 6 (4). 705 - 720. ISSN 1359-0987

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The well-documented figure of the Andean kharisiri (alternatively ñakaq, pishtaco) who steals the fat of Indians and sells it to bishops or hospitals has generally been understood in terms of the fear Indians have of outsiders and anxiety about modernity. As such there are similarities with the wider phenomena of organ-stealers around the world. This article, however, examines the cultural specificities of kharisiri beliefs and outlines important differences from these more generalized phenomena. Kharisiris steal fat, and by understanding the role of fat in Andean culture we understand better not only the phenomenon of the kharisiri, but also how he comes so horrifyingly to represent the 'racialized' outsider. Moreover, such an analysis also illuminates how the distinction between Indian and non-Indian is understood emically and thus introduces a way of understanding difference that goes beyond analyses based on the categories of ethnicity, race, or class; that is, difference as a boundary between alterity and identity. © Royal Anthropological Institute 2000.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Sociology, Department of
Depositing User: Elena Pupaza
Date Deposited: 23 Sep 2015 09:56
Last Modified: 30 Jan 2019 16:15

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