Mauricio Pardo
Universidad de Caldas, Colombia


Among the Embera of the Pacific rainforest in Colombia there is a great diversity of relations and exchanges between humans, other living beings and spirits. They have been linked to the tributary regime during the colonial period and to capitalist economy afterwards, but they have largely preserved their social dynamics and have incorporated part of these monetary transactions into their internal logic. The network of exchanges includes the mediations of the shaman, the jaibana, with the spirits, the jai. The diversity of transactions in the embera society range from direct non-mediated exchanges that encompass the reproductive capacity of humans, animals and plants, and mediated exchanges of gifts or commodities in the different spheres of action of the embera society.  Those interactions might be understood within different qualities of reciprocity and as inscribed in various spheres of exchange, which allow us to understand the resilience of the Embera in the framework of the aggressive capitalist processes that surround them.

Keywords: exchanges, shamanism, Embera indigenous people, Colombia.