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The Nature of Sweetness: An Indigenous Fermentation Complex in Amazonian Guyana

Daly, Lewis; (2019) The Nature of Sweetness: An Indigenous Fermentation Complex in Amazonian Guyana. In: Dunbar, Robin and Hockings, Kimberly, (eds.) Alcohol and Humans: A Long and Social Affair. (pp. 130-146). Oxford University Press: Oxford, UK. Green open access

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Abstract

This chapter is an ethnographic case study of the fermentation of cassava beer among the indigenous Makushi people of southern Guyana. The chapter constitutes the first in-depth anthropological study of parakari, a unique kind of cassava beer fermented via the cultivation of a domesticated species of saprotrophic fungus (Rhizopus sp.). Herein, the author explores Makushi theories and practices of fermentation, and, more broadly, the ways in which alcoholic drinks operate as catalysts for processes of social and cosmic reproduction and transformation in indigenous Amazonia. For the Makushi, as it is argued, the production and consumption of cassava beer is understood as a more-than-human process of person-making, harnessing the vibrant agency of a diversity of vegetal, animal, microbial, and spiritual entities and forces. Fermentation, in this frame, is treated both as a sociotechnical system and an ecosystem.

Type: Book chapter
Title: The Nature of Sweetness: An Indigenous Fermentation Complex in Amazonian Guyana
ISBN-13: 9780198842460
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198842460.003.0009
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1093/oso/9780198842460.003.0009
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the version of record. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Anthropology, Social Anthropology, Environmental Anthropology, Multispecies Ethnography, Ethnobotany, Ethnography, Posthumanism, Fermentation, Cassava Beer, Cassava, Amazonia, Guyana, Makushi, Indigenous, Indigenous Knowledge, Cosmology, Ritual
UCL classification: 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
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10146863
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