Icon Our WorkLove and its entanglements among the Enxet of Paraguay: social and kinship relations within a market economy

In “Love and its entanglements among the Enxet of Paraguay: Social and Kinship Relations within a Market Economy”, Stephen Kidd, Principal Social Policy Specialist in Development Pathways, examines the affective discourse and value systems of the indigenous Enxet people. Kidd’s analysis focuses on how the Enxet navigate the market economy in Paraguay and the tensions it exerts on their commitment to egalitarianism, generosity, and personal autonomy.

The Enxet indigenous people of Paraguay are hunter-gatherers whose lands have been colonised over the past 150 years and converted into cattle ranches, obliging them to enter the market economy. Nonetheless, the Enxet continue to place a high value on egalitarianism, generosity and personal autonomy. This publication examines their emotional discourse and how they use it to explain and navigate daily social and economic interactions.

A fundamental dichotomy in Enxet thought is between “love” and “hate,” with much of their discourse centres on these two concepts. The Enxet seek to create “good/beautiful” people who know how to act appropriately: in some contexts, practising “love” – through sharing and intimacy – is correct behaviour, while in other contexts, it is acceptable to practise “hate.”

Enxet social organisation should not be understood as a structure, but as a continuous creation. The book examines how the Enxet continue to strive to live harmonious, tranquil lives, even within the demands placed on them by the market economy. For the Enxet, economic relations are not about gaining wealth but about living well with other people. Consequently, their emotion words are not just “feelings” but encompass an aesthetics of social behaviour.

Buy a copy of “Love and its entanglements among the Enxet of Paraguay: social and kinship relations within a market economy” by Stephen Kidd here.

Get a 30% discount when purchasing your copy through Rowman & Littlefield until 31st December 2021 using the discount code: LEX30AUTH21.

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