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The Hold Life Has: Coca and Cultural Identity in an Andean Community
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The Hold Life Has: Coca and Cultural Identity in an Andean Community

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  133 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
This second edition of Catherine J. Allen's distinctive ethnography of the Quechua-speaking people of the Andes brings their story into the present. She has added an extensive afterword based on her visits to Sonqo in 1995 and 2000, and has updated and revised parts of the original text. The book focuses on the very real problem of cultural continuity in a changing world, ...more
Paperback, 283 pages
Published 2002 by Smithsonian Books
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(showing 1-30)
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Sep 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cultural, owned
This is a beautifully crafted, poignet ethnography. Not only is it packed with information on each page--Allen weaves the information with her personal experiences and observations in a true pursuit of Malinowski's call for anthropologists to seek "the hold life has" on the people they learn from.
Renee Pinkston
This is one of the first very well written anthropological ethnographies that I have read; Allen presents the material in a very understandable and not expected relatable way. The subject of the book, the Quechua-speaking people of the Andes Mountains of Peru.

I have had to read my fair share of ethnographies and I have seen that in order to craft a good ethnography, the author must open the work with clarity as well as something that will attract readers because otherwise, you just end up readin
Feb 20, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: south-america
I feel badly giving this book only two stars, but I rate books by how much I enjoy them, not by how well the author did his or her job. While I certainly appreciate and am impressed by the work and the thought that Catherine Allen put into her study, I'm afraid that it just didn't interest me that much. It wasn't a long book (only 236 pages) but it was too long for my tastes. The detailed descriptions of various rituals grew a bit tiresome. I don't fault Allen for including this stuff; it's what ...more
May 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ethnography, andean
In depth look of the lives of the Runa kuna living in Sonqo Peru. Especially the ritual use of coca leaves and the manner in which these Andeans view life, its purpose, and how they related in the world.

I found this book interesting, though very dense on material. The most interesting parts for me were the various ways in which the Sonqo explain natural phenomenon as well as the impact drug trafficking and the anti-drug movement has negatively affected the ritual use of coca leaves.
Tyson Titensor
A very thorough and detailed ethnography. A bit more detailed than I wanted...I ended up doing a fair amount of skimming. Perhaps I will return to this book later if I decide I need a more thorough understanding of the subject matter.
Sep 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I love ethnographies and this is by far the best one I have ever read. I found Allen's narrative captivating and she really inspired me to think further about the connection between cultural identity and language.
Aug 09, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: excellent ethnographer
interesting look at the Andean cummunity and the way they use Coca
Ugh, Homework
Jun 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Very enjoyable to read; complex and well written.
Jun 25, 2009 added it
Shelves: give-away
Good Andean ethnography.
Benjamin Plume
Jul 30, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
Aug 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
Would read again
Aug 15, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anthro-lovers
This was a very well put together ethnography focusing on the importance of Coca in an Andean village.
Emma McDonell
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Jeremia Ploor
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Aug 11, 2014
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