Chácobo - Sociopolitical Organization

Social Organization. Inequality between men and women is a remarkable characteristic of Chácobo society. Chácobo social life is male centered. Women are mere spectators at rituals, ceremonies, and in the decision-making process. Although age confers power to both genders, old women never enjoy it to the same degree as their male counterparts.

Political Organization. Traditionally, Chácobo society had a loosely defined chieftain institution. Any aged man showing potential for leadership could be recognized as a chief. What seems to be a constant is that chiefs were also powerful shamans. Today, chieftainship goes to literate young men who are in the rubber business. Although these young men are the ones who represent the Chácobo to the outside world, community decisions have to be approved by the elders.

Social Control and Conflict. Sources of tension are an uneven distribution of food, suspicion of adultery, and witchcraft. The settlement of White families involved in the processing of rubber has also provoked new sources of friction. Unless a controversy affects the community at large, conflict is often hidden. Chácobo rationale for this negative attitude toward publicly venting personal conflicts is based on the fear of witchcraft. In this sense, witchcraft works as a powerful form of social control.

User Contributions:

Comment about this article, ask questions, or add new information about this topic: