The word yrmo has been transcribed diﬀerently by other ethnographers
(Cordeu writes it érmo and Susnik ïrmiĉ), but I follow the style increas-
ingly adopted by the Yshiro themselves. The meaning of the word is expan-
sive; it can refer to anything from the bush to all that exists.
“Signiﬁcative diﬀerences” refers to diﬀerences in the context of a ﬁeld of
power, and not to the putative content of diﬀerences. These are the kind
of diﬀerences that, as Donna Haraway pointed out, are not “playful” but
“poles of world historical systems of domination” (1991: 160–61).
Actually, I should say “visible consequences,” since only from a perspec-
tive that denies relationality can one seriously assume that not responding
to others might have no consequences. I owe this point of clariﬁcation to
Introduction Worlds and Knowledges Otherwise
That there are other forms of conceiving dualism, with diﬀerent eﬀects, is
evident if one thinks of the Chinese yin and yang or the Yshiro notions of
om and sherwo as poles in a continuum. The practice of thinking through a
pattern of poles in a continuum is one I use throughout this volume.
The “colonial diﬀerence” is the way in which the modern imaginary classi-
ﬁes the planet by transforming diﬀerences into values and, thus, into hier-
archies (Mignolo 2000:13).
See Plumwood for a thorough analysis of Cartesian dualism as a logic of
colonization and subordination (1993:41–68).
For general discussions of the role of expert knowledge in governmen-
tal practices, see contributors to Burchell, Gordon, and Miller 1991; and
Barry, Osborne, and Rose 1996. For examples of expert knowledge in the
context of development, see contributors to Marglin and Marglin 1990,
1996; Cooper and Packard 1997; Arturo Escobar 1995; Ferguson 1990; and
For a recent overview of the eﬀects of the “self-reflexive turn” and its rami-
ﬁcations beyond anthropology, see Marcus 2007, 2008.