Araweté - Sociopolitical Organization

Social Organization. Male and female heads of large residential clusters enjoy the greatest prestige. Women have an active voice in village life. Great shamans and men with the status of killers are much respected. Age stratification is not emphasized.

Political Organization. Every residential cluster was and is autonomous, although each village acknowledged the couple who founded it (by moving with their dependents and opening the first field) as the "leader" and "owner of the village." The male leader must initiate collective movements such as the rainy-season dispersion, but otherwise has little authority.

Social Control. Gossip, scorn, and fear of divine sanctions are the main forms of social control. There is no witchcraft. The ever-present possibility of fission makes the village a contractuallike unit.

Conflict. Disputes about women seem to have been common in the past and, to a certain extent, still are. Every residential section may be considered a faction in its own right, although they coalesce into larger, fluid units along lines of potential village fission. Homicide is extremely rare, and when it occurs it leads to blood revenge and fission. The relationship with foreign groups is by definition one of war, and the killing of an enemy is an event for a great celebration, having onomastic and religious effects.

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