This book, published in Portuguese by Editora ufrj in 2006, is a modified
version of my doctoral thesis, completed in the Graduate Program in Social
Anthropology (ppgas) of the Museu Nacional (Universidade Federal do
Rio de Janeiro) in 1996. I thank my former lecturers and now colleagues for
their support over the years, especially Gilberto Velho, Luiz Fernando Dias
Duarte, Otávio Velho, and Roberto DaMatta. Carlos Fausto deserves special
thanks for his consecutive readings of my manuscripts and his friendship.
Eduardo Viveiros de Castro was my thesis supervisor and responsible for
my training in ethnology; his work comprises a central reference point for
my own, as will become evident to the reader. It is a privilege to have been
able to count on his intellectual generosity and his friendship throughout all
this time.
Lisa Stuart helped very generously with all stages of producing the book,
while David Rodgers was the translator of my dreams. I thank Neil White-
head, the editor of the series, for his comments and suggestions. Anne-
Christine Taylor, Artionka Capiberibe, Beto Barcellos, Bruna Franchetto,
Cesar Gordon, Cristiane Lasmar, Dušan Borić, Elizabeth Pissolato, Joana
Miller, Joaquim Pais de Brito, José Antônio Kelly, Manuela Carneiro da
Cunha, Marcela Coelho de Souza, Márcio Silva, Marco Antônio Gonçalves,
Márnio Teixeira-Pinto, Neila Soares, Oiara Bonilla, Patrick Menget, Peter
Gow, Philippe Descola, Philippe Erikson, Tânia Stolze Lima, and Terence
Turner, colleagues and friends, contributed ideas, readings, advice, and com-
fort over twenty years of field research with the Wari’. Julie Coimbra, Marilyn
Strathern, Simeran Gell, and Stephen and Christine Hugh-Jones made my
stay in Cambridge intellectually and emotionally unforgettable. Peter Rivière
is the book’s godfather, while Marshall Sahlins gave me essential advice dur-
ing some of its final stages, as well as providing, through his work, the book’s
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