Shamans and shams: The discursive effects of ethnotourism in Ecuador

V.M.D Davidov*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


En new commodified forms of shamanism have emerged in kichwa communities due to the influx of tourists interested in the indigenous cultures of the ecuadorian amazon. Shamanic rituals are popular because they map onto the tourists' fantasies of cultural alterity, but the resulting economic exchanges raise issues of legitimacy and authenticity: tourism privileges the performative aspects of shamanism, rather than traditional training. As a result, kichwa communities have seen a rise in “new” shamans skilled at shamanic performance, who have access to the hallucinogenic plants employed in the ritual, but lack the proper training traditionally associated with becoming a shaman. In this context the meaning and legitimacy of shamanic vocation is contested and constructed both interculturally and intraculturally.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)387-410
JournalJournal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2010


Dive into the research topics of 'Shamans and shams: The discursive effects of ethnotourism in Ecuador'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this