The Chicken and the Quetzal: Incommensurate Ontologies and Portable Values in Guatemala's Cloud Forest
A Mayan Ontology of Poultry: Selfhood, Affect, and Animals
2016. "A Mayan Ontology of Poultry: Selfhood, Affect, and Animals", The Chicken and the Quetzal: Incommensurate Ontologies and Portable Values in Guatemala's Cloud Forest, Paul Kockelman
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This chapter focuses on women’s care for chickens, and the key role animal husbandry plays in the domestic mode of production. In some sense, this chapter takes what at first seems to be the most portable of animals and shows its radical rootedness in a particular cultural history. It is ethnographically organized around various frames on, or local figurings of, the relation between women and chickens, the relation between chickens and other species, and the relation between Q’eqchi’-speaking women and other identities. It analyzes such frames in terms of three key themes: ontology (what kinds of entities there are in the world), affect (cognitive and corporeal attunements to such entities), and selfhood (relatively reflexive centers of attunement). Broadly speaking, it argues that these three themes are empirically, methodologically, and theoretically inseparable—each must be simultaneously attended to if one is to understand the others.