Public discourse and community formation in a trilingual Matsigenka-Quechua-Spanish frontier community of Southern Peru

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Until recently, the members of a community on the Andean-Amazonian agricultural frontier of Southern Peru have tended to limit their social ties to members of their own families. But the residents have begun to forge a ‘community’ through a semiotic distinction between private and public spaces, social practices, and domains of morality. Particular discursive phenomena in the asamblea ‘community meeting’ are deployed to create and maintain the community as a domain of action distinct from kin commitments, and participation in the asamblea offers a context in which to assume a novel political and moral subjectivity. Thus, the social organizational construct of the community is emergent in public interactions. The article concludes with a comparative analysis of public discourse in another comunidad nativa ‘indigenous community’ that has not embraced the notion of ‘community’, and demonstrates how code-switching allows leaders there to invoke both the private and public modes of social authority. (Amazonia, Andes, Matsigenka, Spanish, Quechua)*
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)679–703
Number of pages25
JournalLanguage in Society
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes

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