Accueil du site> Membres du LESC > Membres permanents > ERIKSON Philippe (EREA)


Regional fields

Amazon (Brazil, Bolivia, Peru)

Thematic fields

social and cultural anthropology


ornementic, social organisation, shamanism, Pano ethnology, Matis, Chacobo

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A member of the LESC since 1984 (assigned to the EREA centre since 2011), Philippe Erikson (born 1960) holds a PhD and an accreditation to supervise doctoral thesis (2008) from the University of Paris X-Nanterre. He was a beneficiary of the Ministry of Education and Research, award-winner of the Fyssen Foundation and resident of the Institut français d’études andines (French Institute of Andean Studies), before teaching at the Université libre de Bruxelles and the Université Paul Verlaine in Metz. He joined Nanterre in 1996 and was elected professor in 2010.

Philippe Erikson is an ethnologist specialising in the Pano ethnolinguistic family. He long studied among the Matis of the Brazilian Amazon (20 months in the between 1984 and 2006) and among the Chácobo of the Bolivian Amazon (23 months between 1991 and 2011). In 2007, he spent a brief period among the Cashinahua of Peru, and also practiced business ethnology in France, the United States and Great Britain (12 months in the field between 1991 and 2004).

His work essentially concerns social organisation, onomastics and the construction of collective identity among the Pano; the relationship between humans and animals; the symbolic aspects of material culture (masks, blowguns) and ritual work on the body (tattooing, shamanism). This research contributed to identifying a number of topoi that have become standard in the contemporary Amazon: the status of pets and the question of taming versus domestication; the shape given to American Indian social cosmologies by “constitutive alterity”; the ornementic as a form of fabricated corporeality…

Philippe Erikson was active as an elected member of section 38 of the CNRS national committee (2004-2008), director of the ethnology department at Nanterre (2005-2009) and vice-president of the Société des Américanistes de Paris (2008-2011). In 2011 he joined the board of directors of the Society for the Anthropology of Lowland South America, and since 2012 has been directing doctoral school 395, “Milieux, cultures et sociétés du passé et du present” (“Places, Cultures and Societies of the Past and Present”) at the University of Paris West.

Principal publications

  • 2010, Nota sobre as saudações na Amazônia, Campos - Revistade Antropologia Social (Curitiba), 11 (2): 9–27.
  • 2008, “Structural anthropology? Well, you see: c’est la bonne anthropologie”. A tribute to Claude Lévi-Strauss, Journal de la société des américanistes, 94 (2): 7–67 [special issue].
  • 2008, Obedient things. Matis theory of materiality, in F. Santos Granero (ed.), The occult life of things. Native Amazonian theories of materiality and personhood (Tucson, University of Arizona Press): 173–191.
  • 2007, Faces from the past. Just how ‘ancestral’ are Matis ‘ancestor spirit’ masks?, in C. Fausto and M. Heckenberger (eds), Time and memory in indigenous Amazonia: Anthropological perspectives (Gainesville, University Press of Florida): 219–242.
  • 2004, La pirogue ivre. Bières traditionnelles en Amazonie (Saint-Nicolas-de-Port, Musée français de la Brasserie).
  • 2003, “Comme à toi jadis on l’a fait, fais-le moi à présent…”. Cycle de vie et ornementation corporelle chez les Matis (Amazonas, Brésil), L’Homme, 167–168: 129–152.
  • 2003, Cana, Nabai, Baita y los demás… Comentarios sobre la onomástica Chacobo, Scripta Ethnologica, 23: 59–74.
  • 2002, Idées à bouturer. Ethno-écologie amazonienne Ideas para el esqueje. Etno-ecología amazónica (Nanterre, Laboratoire d’ethnologie et de sociologie comparative) [Ateliers, hors série; en collaboration avec Marc Lenaerts; financé par la Commission européenne, cce-dg xii].
  • 2000 eds (with A. Monod Becquelin), Les rituels du dialogue: promenades ethnolinguistiques en terres amérindiennes (Nanterre, Société d’ethnologie).
  • 1996, La griffe des aïeux: marquage du corps et démarquages ethniques chez les Matis d’Amazonie (Louvain/Paris, Peeters/SELAF).


Publications available at the Éric-de-Dampierre library


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Mis à jour le 16 January 2014

Professeur, Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense, Département d’ethnologie, de préhistoire et d’ethnomusicologie
[Full Professor]


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