[Paper Spotlight] The river echoes with laughter: a child-centred analysis of social change in Amazonia

Check out Camilla Morelli’s paper on the role of children in social change among the Matses of Peru! The full paper is available here

Abstract: This article examines radical social, cultural, and political changes taking place in Amazonia from the perspective of indigenous children and youth: a group who, despite their demographic prevalence, have received limited attention in the regional literature. Drawing on fieldwork with Matses people in Peru, I consider how children and youth are playing a critical role in the transition from a hunter-gatherer, forest-based society towards a riverine lifestyle that is increasingly engaged in trade, the market economy, and exchanges with chotac, or non-indigenous people. I argue that by engaging with their surroundings through playing and working, Matses children are becoming affectively attached to some parts of the world rather than others. This represents a purposeful shift from the lifestyle and worldviews of older generations and highlights how children are active agents who shape possible future directions of Matses society and transform the community’s relationships with the world. Accordingly, I propose a child-centred view of social change that seeks to demonstrate the implications of children’s creativity and agency for society at large and its future development.

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