What Pehuenche blood does: Hemic feasting, intersubjective participation, and witchcraft in Southern Chile

Cristóbal Bonelli


Among the Pehuenche, blood is extracted from humans and animals and shared and eaten among people, offered as food to land spirits and deities, as well as devoured by evil spirits and witches. Through an ethnographic analysis of eating and feeding practices involving a variety of blood eaters, this article argues that blood (Ch. mollvün), as it functions in rural Pehuenche people’s practices in Southern Chile, indexes the capacity to create relationships and is itself the result of relationships. By focusing on what mollvün does as well as on the practices through which it is collectively made and maliciously unmade by witches, I show how mollvün challenges, interferes with, and reconfigures current anthropological conceptualizations of blood as substance.


blood, substance, inter-stance, eating, feeding, Pehuenche, capacity

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.14318/hau4.1.004