Pishtacos. Human fat murderers, structural inequalities, and resistances in Peru

Ernesto Vasquez del Aguila

Abstract


Political, economic, and institutional inequalities have enormous impacts on human problems and people’s everyday lives.  They create collective experiences of social suffering that may frequently find release through the production of collective imaginaries. Among Peru’s marginalized populations, ongoing exposure to both historical memories of colonization and oppression, as well as contemporary encounters with injustice, impoverishment, and inequalities, constitute the scenario for the emergence of an evil character: the pishtaco, almost always a powerful stranger who steals the body fat of indigenous and impoverished individuals. The pishtaco, an ambiguous, fluid, and complex figure, represents various aspects of power and violence that are familiar to people in the Andean region of Peru and Bolivia. This paper examines the myth of pishtaco in Peru, arising from experiences of colonial rule up to the present media news reports and discussions in on-line Peruvian newspaper sites.

Palabras clave: Pishtaco; Desigualdades estructurales; Resistencia; Perú

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13125/americacritica/3378

NBN: http://nbn.depositolegale.it/urn%3Anbn%3Ait%3Aunica-24487

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