The ten essays in Fluent Selves: Autobiography, Person, and History in Lowland South America, edited by Suzanne Oakdale and Magnus Course, present the tense relation between cultural forces and personal agency, between individual particularities and cultural diversity or the universality of human sociability. But this is not an abstract discussion. In line with one of the most valuable aspects of the anthropological tradition, the contributors consider this question with reference to ethnographic materials, collected in this case in different parts of lowland South America (Brazil, Peru, Ecuador, and Chile), and with attention to native voices. The intensive use of autobiographical narratives (in some essays more than others) makes the book germane to those interested in discourse as a social practice both situated and at the same time linked to multiple aspects of social life in every group.

One essay examines the...

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