Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: May 18, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412971935 | Print ISBN: 9781412966702 | Online ISBN: 9781412971935| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
South Americans, Traditional Cultures
In 1949, the ethnographer John Cooper lamented the scarcity of information on games and play in ethnographic works on the traditional cultures of South America. Today there are still few studies, often in languages other than English, on the role of games and other forms of play in such cultures. Anthropologists have investigated the field, focusing especially on traditional (native) sport games usually played in groups, on hazard games and their meaning, and on the connection between play and religious or ceremonial practices. The kind of games played is largely connected to the geographical and cultural area to which specific groups belong. Jean-Pierre Chaumeil divides South America in four main cultural areas: the Andes, whose traditional societies practiced sheep-breeding and agriculture and were technologically advanced, and highly stratified; the tropical forest of rivers Orinoco and Rio of the Amazons, where kinship groups practiced small portions of the forest to practice ...