Guinea Pigs

Guinea Pigs: Food, Symbol And Conflicts Of Knowledge In Ecuador


Guinea pigs have been reared and eaten by indigenous people in the Andes since ancient times, and it seemed rational to development planners to 'modernize' their production. When these development projects ran into trouble, a team of anthropologists was invited to study the reasons for this lack of success. This intriguing book is the product of that study.What the author shows is that guinea pigs have a meaning in the social and ritual life of Ecuadorian peasants which is far from mundane. Rejecting the attempts of some anthropologists to reduce the production of guinea pigs and the festive life of the Andean community to a quest for protein, he explores the full complex of social and cultural practices which centre on this animal, and uses his study of its role within Andean culture to provide telling insights into how that culture itself is constituted -- its values, beliefs and attitudes. By working in a variety of communities with different ecological and ethnographic characteristics, the author has made a major contribution to ethnographic accounts of Ecuador and to the more general study of ritual, consumption and indigenous knowledge. He points us, in particular, towards the importance of the knowledge of women, who are those principally responsible for the care of an animal which is prized for its role in healing and central to Andean sociality. The book not only presents us with a colourful description of the range of cultural practices surrounding the guinea pig, ranging from the way the animals are reared, through a rich and complex cuisine, to their role in ritual life, but also highlights the way the gender dimension is central to understanding resistances to 'modernization' and the power of 'experts'.



  • Condition: --
    HPB condition ratings
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    • Good (G): Average used book with all pages present. Possible loose bindings, highlighting, cocked spine or torn dust jackets. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
    • Fair (FR): Obviously well-worn, but no text pages missing. May be without endpapers or title page. Markings do not interfere with readability. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
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    Conditions Guide
  • Format: Paperback
  • Sold by: --
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Berg Pub Ltd
  • ISBN-13: 9781859731192
  • ISBN: 1859731198
  • Publication Year: 1997
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HPB condition ratings
  • New: Item is brand new, unused and unmarked, in flawless condition.
  • Fine/Like New (F): No defects, little usage. May show remainder marks. Older books may show minor flaws.
  • Very Good (VG): Shows some signs of wear and is no longer fresh. Attractive. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
  • Good (G): Average used book with all pages present. Possible loose bindings, highlighting, cocked spine or torn dust jackets. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
  • Fair (FR): Obviously well-worn, but no text pages missing. May be without endpapers or title page. Markings do not interfere with readability. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
  • Poor (P): All text is legible but may be soiled and have binding defects. Reading copies and binding copies fall into this category. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
Conditions Guide
HPB condition ratings
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Conditions Guide
HPB condition ratings
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  • Fine/Like New (EX): Near new. No defects, little sign of use. Plays perfectly. Not necessarily sealed or unused, but close. No skipping; no fuzzy or snowy frames in VHS.
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  • Good (G): This item is in okay condition and basically works well. There may be some minor distortion on VHS tape; slight scratching or wear on DVD.
  • Fair (FR): Basically plays, but may be obviously well-worn with some scratching or tape distortion.
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Conditions Guide
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