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Indigenous social media practices in Southwestern Amazonia

Pirjo Kristiina Virtanen


This article discusses how the use of social media fosters, motivates, and regulates social relations among the Arawakan- and Panoan- speaking indigenous groups in the state of Acre and the southern part of the state of Amazonas, Brazil, where even the smallest towns have recently received high- speed internet connections. The research this article is based on analyzed what motivates indigenous social media users in Amazonian Brazil. I have gathered ethnographic data over a number of fieldwork trips since 2003 and followed indigenous Facebook users since 2009. The article shows how social networking sites have become a powerful tool for (re)producing relationships and social economies. It looks at what social networking sites offer for indigenous people and how they impact and alter their social relationships. The findings suggest that social networking sites are generating new reflections on Amazonian indigenous traditions and knowledge, and changing the way indigenous Amazonians relate to others.

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Print ISSN 1177-1801 Online ISSN 1174-1740