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Ebook Information

Ritual Encounters

Otavalan Modern and Mythic Community

The mythic roots and modern future of Ecuadorian indigenous communities in the twenty-first century

This book examines ritual practices and public festivals in the Otavalo and Cotacachi areas of northern Andean Ecuador's Imbabura province. Otavaleņos are a unique group in that they maintain their traditional identity but also cultivate a cosmopolitanism through frequent international travel. Ritual Encounters explores the moral, mythic, and modern crossroads at which Otavaleņos stand, and how, at this junction, they come to define themselves as millennial people.

Michelle Wibbelsman shows that Otavaleņos are deeply engaged in transnational mobility and in the cultural transformations that have resulted from Otavalan participation in global markets, international consumer trends, and technological developments. Rituals have persisted among this ethnic community as important processes for symbolically capturing and critically assessing cultural changes in the face of modern influences. As religious expression, political commentary, transcendental communication, moral judgment, and transformative experience, Otavalan rituals constitute enduring practices that affirm ethnic identities, challenge dominant narratives, and take issue with power inequalities behind hegemony. Ritual Encounters thus offers an appreciation of the modern and mythic community as a single and emergent condition.

"An intelligent and welcome book."--Anthropology Review Database

"An important addition to the literature on Andean ethnography and the anthropology of ritual."--Latin American Music Review

"Ritual Encounters offers a richly textured reading of core Otavalan ritual performances and the cosmological discourse that sustains them."--Journal of Folklore Research

"When I first witnessed the powerful images, music, and hypnotic rhythms of the Otavalos' Inti Raymi dances, I yearned for an ethnographer's deep analysis. Michelle Wibbelsman's eloquent ethnography has set a new standard for the study of ritual in the Andes."--Robert E. Rhoades, author of Development with Identity, Community, Culture and Sustainability in the Andes

"An engaging study of diverse rituals that take place in indigenous communities in the northwestern highland region of Ecuador. Although previous ethnographic work conducted in the Otavalo area has examined ritual performances, none other focuses exclusively on ritual expression beyond a single community. Wibbelsman's work fills this gap in northern Andean ethnographic work."--Kathleen S. Fine-Dare, author of Grave Injustice: The American Indian Repatriation Movement and NAGPRA

Michelle Wibbelsman is a research fellow at the Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies at the University of Texas at Austin, and an adjunct professor of anthropology at St. Edward's University.

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