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Drink, Power, and Society in the Andes

Edited by Justin Jennings and Brenda J. Bowser

Publication Year: 2009

For more than two thousand years, drinking has played a critical role in Andean societies. This collection provides a unique look at the history, ethnography, and archaeology of one of the most important traditional indigenous commodities in Andean South America--fermented plant beverages collectively known as chicha.

The authors investigate how these forms of alcohol have played a huge role in maintaining gender roles, kinship bonds, ethnic identities, exchange relationships, and status hierarchies. They also consider how shifts in alcohol production, exchange, and consumption have precipitated social change.

Unique among foodways studies for its extensive temporal coverage, Drink, Power, and Society in the Andes also brings together scholars from diverse theoretical, methodological, and regional perspectives.

Published by: University Press of Florida


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Title Page, Copyright

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p. vii


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pp. ix-x

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1 Drink, Power, and Society in the Andes

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pp. 1-27

Alcohol is perhaps the most ancient, the most widely used, and the most versatile drug in the world (Dudley 2002; Heath 1976: 41), and its production, exchange, and consumption have long structured individuals’ relationships with society, the environment, and the cosmos throughout the world (Douglas 1987a). For example, the production of millet beer in Africa defines gender roles, determines irrigation schedules, and dominates ...

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2 “Let’s Drink Together, My Dear!”: Persistent Ceremonies in a Changing Community

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pp. 28-48

“Drinking together” is one of the most common human strategies for expressing and manipulating social bonds (Fig. 2.1). Andean societies, past and present, are no exception to this rule; indeed, drinking partnerships were a structuring feature of the Inca state (see, e.g., Cummins 2002). In this chapter, I examine the deep, pervasive (and often problematic) role of ritual drinking in a small Quechua-speaking community from the time I first encountered ...

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3 Working through Daughters: Strategies for Gaining and Maintaining Social Power among the Chicheras of Highland Bolivia

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pp. 49-74

Since the 1970s, the study of women’s roles in society has received considerable attention in anthropology. The increase of ethnographic case studies emphasizing the female perspective dramatically expanded our knowledge of women’s goals, activities, and impact in society. Among other things, these ...

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4 Places to Partake: Chicha in the Andean Landscape

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pp. 75-107

This chapter considers evidence that agricultural landscapes formed important loci for the consumption of chicha during the reign of the Inca and addresses the implications of this association for the study of terrace systems.1 Maize had an elevated status under the Inca, and the chicha prepared from it played a significant role in their religious practices. ...

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5 The Role of Chicha in Inca State Expansion: A Distributional Study of Inca Aríbalos

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pp. 108-132

The Inca were the architects of the largest empire ever created in the Americas. During the fifteenth century ad, through a skillful combination of force and inducement, they became the unrivalled masters of the Andean world. At the height of their power, the long arm of Inca control stretched ...

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6 You Are What You Drink: A Sociocultural Reconstruction of Pre-Hispanic Fermented Beverage Use at Cerro Baúl, Moquegua, Peru

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pp. 133-166

The ethnobotanical and ethnohistorical record of the Andes is replete with examples of fermented beverages made from a large number of grains and fruits. As Cutler and Cárdenas observe, the Spaniards recognized that there were many different kinds of chicha. Andean anthropology and archaeology, however, often focus largely on beer made from Zea mays (maize, or corn). ...

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7 Tiwanaku Influence on Local Drinking Patternsin Cochabamba, Bolivia

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pp. 167-199

The Tiwanaku polity, centered at the site of Tiwanaku in the Andean highlands (Fig. 7.1), developed into a state-level society around AD 500 and lasted until about AD 1100. With the rise of the state, a distinctive Tiwanaku style developed that included a new and complex ceramic assemblage. The transition to this new assemblage occurred quickly and spread throughout the heartland of Tiwanaku. ...

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8 Pots, Brewers, and Hosts: Women’s Power and the Limits of Central Andean Feasting

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pp. 200-231

Among their many possible functions, feasts are events that create and maintain social capital by perpetuating a durable network of relationships that link actual and potential resources (after Bourdieu 1986: 248). Social capital is important in the Andes and in other regions of the world because reciprocity forms the backbone of the economy (Dietler 1996: 92–97; Dietler 2001: 66; Earle 1991: 3; Hayden 2001: 38; Mayer 2002; Perodie 2001: 187). ...

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9 Chicha Histories: Pre-Hispanic Brewing in the Andes and the Use of Ethnographic and Historical Analogues

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pp. 232-256

In “Cloth, Gender, Continuity, and Change,” Elizabeth Brumfiel (2006) calls on anthropologists to question the seeming persistence of traditional technologies through time. Using the example of weaving in Mesoamerica, she notes that “continuities can mask differences” that tell us about weavers and the societies in which they lived.1 These differences are revealed ...

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10 Have a Drink: Chicha, Performance, and Politics

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pp. 257-277

In a photograph on the Internet, a skinny old lady from Peru holds an enormous glass tumbler in her outstretched hand. Peering amiably toward the camera from under a sweat-stained hat, she invites the viewer to have a drink. The liquid in the glass is opaque, rather dirty-looking, and topped with thick foam.1 This is chicha, the traditional beer of western South ...


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pp. 279-280


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pp. 281-290

E-ISBN-13: 9780813045467
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813033068
Print-ISBN-10: 0813033063

Page Count: 304
Illustrations: 21 b&w photographs, 11 figures, 5 maps, 18 tables
Publication Year: 2009

OCLC Number: 801843377
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Drink, Power, and Society in the Andes

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Indians of South America -- Alcohol use -- Andes Region.
  • Indians of South America -- Andes Region -- Social life and customs.
  • Chicha -- Andes Region -- History.
  • Drinking of alcoholic beverages -- Andes Region -- History.
  • Drinking customs -- Andes Region -- History.
  • Andes Region -- Social life and customs.
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