SOAS University of London

Department of Linguistics, School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics

Gender and Linguistic Fieldwork Abstract

Imperfect ethnographers and heterogeneous voices: gendering fieldwork in Ecuadorian Amazonia
Natalia Buitrón Arias (LSE)  & Grégory Deshoullière (EHESS, Paris)

In this presentation, we offer an ethnographic account of the role of gender in our involvement as a couple of anthropologists working with Shuar people in South-eastern Ecuadorian Amazonia. We start by contextualising the problematic of gender in social anthropology and discuss how local gender roles differently inflected our fieldwork experience both individually and as a couple. To do this, we propose that we understand gender in interaction with other social practices and categories, and thus, rather than offering an interpretation in strict gender terms, we examine how gender distinctions relate to a particular conceptualisation of power and are locally subsumed by kinship dichotomies, namely, affinity and consanguinity. Finally, we briefly analyse the specific gender ideology of State-derived projects of language and culture revitalisation implemented in Shuar intercultural bilingual schools and compare this to gendered linguistic praxis at the level of the household. We thus reflect on how such projects may reconfigure local gender symbolism and discursive praxis.  

Speakers: Grégory Deshoulliere and Natalia Buitron Arias