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Magic Darts and Messenger Molecules: A sensory ecology of shamanic plants in indigenous Amazonia

Daly, LJ; Shepard Jr., GH; (2019) Magic Darts and Messenger Molecules: A sensory ecology of shamanic plants in indigenous Amazonia. Anthropology Today , 35 (2) pp. 13-17. 10.1111/1467-8322.12494. Green open access

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Abstract

Recent scientific findings about plant intelligence are forcing anthropologists to reconsider indigenous theories of plant vitality. In this paper, we compare original ethnographic and ethnobotanical research among two different peoples from opposite extremes of lowland South America - the Makushi of Guyana and the Matsigenka of southern Peru - and explore how somatic experiences and chemonsensory properties of plants permeate indigenous understandings of illness etiology and medical efficacy in both the cosmological and microbiological domains. We synthesize emerging theory in ecosemiotics, embodiment, plant personhood, and plant intelligence with the concept of "sensory ecology" (Shepard 2004) to recast multi-species ethnography as a phytochemical, as well as a philosophical, endeavour.

Type: Article
Title: Magic Darts and Messenger Molecules: A sensory ecology of shamanic plants in indigenous Amazonia
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1111/1467-8322.12494
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-8322.12494
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Amazonia, Makushi, Matsigenka, Shamanism, Sensory Anthropology, Sensory Ecology, Ethnobotany, Plants
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Anthropology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10056402
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