Peter Gow, Mapuche, acculturation, marginalization


This paper constitutes a personal exploration of the impact of the work of Peter Gow on my own attempts to think through specific ethnographic problems, both in the Mapuche communities of Southern Chile and the Gaelic communities of Western Scotland. I focus in particular on how Gow’s lesser-known essay “Purús Song” inverts received wisdom about the relationships between center and periphery, and between nation-state and Indigenous people. I see this as one iteration of Gow’s broader aim of letting ethnographic realities transform theoretical complacencies.