“Lets Drink Together, My Dear!”

Catherine J. Allen

in Drink, Power, and Society in the Andes

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print March 2009 | ISBN: 9780813033068
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780813038575 | DOI:
“Lets Drink Together, My Dear!”

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This chapter explores the deep, pervasive (and often problematic) role of ritual drinking in a small Quechua-speaking community from 1975 up to the present. It concentrates upon a high-altitude context (3,200–4,000 meters) where corn will not grow. It specifically considers how chicha forms an important structuring metaphor in the community and how cane alcohol, carbonated drinks, and agricultural reform have played off and transformed this metaphor as lifeways have changed. It then compares and contrasts chicha with trago, as the two beverages perform similar ritual and social functions but involve residents of Sonqo in different kinds of economic and social relationships outside the ayllu. Moreover, two developments from 1990s to the present — alcoholism and Protestant conversion — are outlined. It is noted that the move from chicha to trago/alkul to gaseosas has entailed a significant reorientation.

Keywords: ritual drinking; chicha; trago; Quechua-speaking community; cane alcohol; carbonated drinks; agricultural reform; alcoholism; Protestant conversion; gaseosas

Chapter.  7880 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Society and Culture

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