Tatuyo - Sociopolitical Organization



Social Organization. Tatuyo social organization is based upon a hierarchical principle, the senior/junior opposition, which manifests itself at the level of full brothers, lineages, and clans. Each clan is specialized in many respects. The aggregate of clans constitutes the Tatuyo society, an organic unit that is represented symbolically as the body of the Celestial Anaconda, the ancestor of the Tatuyo.

Political Organization. The aggregate of Tatuyo clans does not constitute a political entity, however. Political power is always centered around certain men who add to the prestige of their birth (as oldest lineage or clan member) a personal, intellectual, and moral prestige.

Social Control. The head of the maloca possesses little means other than his personal authority to maintain social solidarity. Situations involving serious conflict mean the destruction of the community: either dispersal of its members to other malocas or a solitary life in the forest. A desire to avoid the innumerable inconveniences caused by the dissolution of the core group of brothers is the basis of social control and local-group solidarity.

Conflict. The pan-Amazonian myth of the "Bird-Nester" is one of the best indicators of the pivotal role of conflict in an indigenous community. In the Tatuyo version, the protagonists are an elder and younger brother who are in competition for the same woman. Within the hierarchical structure of the clans there also exists a structural conflict (portrayed in myth and continually acted out in everyday life) between the senior (Pamwa-Mahô) and junior (Peta-Huna) clans, which effectively rules out, before the fact, the establishment of senior-clan hegemony over the rest of the society.


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