This introductory chapter provides an overview of the book's focus. This book explores the ways rural Mapuche people in one part of southern Chile create social relations, and are in turn themselves products of such relations. The different forms of social relations may be referred to as “modes of sociality,” a deliberately vague term that goes beyond “kinship” to include the symbolic value of all kinds of relations: those between kin, those between nonkin, those between persons and animals, and those between persons and spirits. This analysis of the Mapuche person and its concomitant modes of sociality allows for a reconceptualization, not only of the major social events of rural Mapuche life, but also of the nature of social aggregates or groups and the role they play in the rapidly changing relations Mapuche people have with the Chilean state.
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