Anthropology: Study Notes (Trobrianders) Essay Sample

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Processes of Change and Transformation

Cultural Change

Mechanisms of change

* Four types of change: innovation, diffusion, cultural loss, adaptation

* Innovation: process whereby a culture adapts to new things, ideas, or behaviour patterns (divided into primary and secondary innovation)

o Primary innovation: chance discovery or invention of a new principle. Example – discovery that the firing of clay makes it permanently hard; this was likely an accident (Haviland)

o Secondary innovation: something new that results from the deliberate application of known principles. Example – the use of the QWERTY keyboard, which places the most frequently-used keys on the home row (Haviland).

* Diffusion: different aspects of one culture spread to another culture. Example – Early colonists came to Canada and adopted the native practice of wearing warm moccasins and leather clothing (Haviland). Trobriand chief Vanoi used European medicines to help his chest pains (Weiner).

* Cultural loss: a culture discards a cultural practice or element with or without replacement. Example – the cessation of the use of chariots and carts for transportation in the Middle East (Haviland). Few Trobriand men continue to wear the traditional pandanus penis covering (Weiner).

* Adaptation: a culture adjusts to a changing environment. Example – FIND SOMETHING FROM THE CREE! The Trobrianders changed the British game of Cricket, incorporating their own sexual practices (Weiner).

Trobriand use of Western technology and transportation are examples of diffusion, modernization, and adaptation.

Forcible change

* Acculturation: one culture imposes ideas on another culture through direct contact (one culture is dominant and the other is submissive depending on wealth and power). Example – the “melting-pot” ideology of Anglo-American culture in the United States (Haviland). Aboriginal residential schools in Canada (Haviland).

o Extinction: when so many carriers of a culture die that those who survive become refugees living among other cultures. Example – in Brazil’s Amazon basin, land developers hired people to kill several aboriginal groups, and villages were left with no children or old people to carry on the practices of the culture, particularly in the Yanomami (Haviland).

* Genocide: elimination of one culture by another to create “advancements”; this can be done on purpose or by accident. Example – the extermination of the Yanomami (Haviland). The Nazi attempt to wipe out European Jews and Roma (Haviland). Extermination in Rwanda. (FIND A REFERENCE!)

* Directed change and applied anthropology: when an anthropologist’s goal is to change human behaviour using their knowledge to “improve” contemporary social, economic, and technological problems of an ethnic group. Example – religious missionary for Canadian first nations, and for Africans (Haviland).

* Revitalization: when a culture makes an effort to improve their society by incorporating innovations (FIND AN EXAMPLE!)

Revolution and Rebellion

* Revolution: an attempt to overthrow government by force. Example – The Russian revolution, in which the government was overthrown by Communists. (FIND A SOURCE)

* Rebellion: attempt to disrupt the societal norm and reissue the distribution of power and resources. FIND AN EXAMPLE

Modernization

* Modernization: when developing cultures adopt Western ideals and characteristics creating cultural change

* Two basic features of modernization: structural differentiation and integrative mechanisms

* Structural differentiation: the division of single traditional roles with two or more functions into several functions FIND AN EXAMPLE

* Integrative mechanisms: cultural mechanisms that oppose a society’s differentiation forces. Example – a political party or a common interest association

* Four processes of modernization:

1. Technological development

2. Agricultural development

3. Industrialization

4. Urbanization

* Institutions often replace the family

* Ascribed status becomes less important than achieved status

* Growing gap between rich and poor

* Examples of modernization – The Skolt Lapps in northern Finland traditionally supported themselves by fishing and herding reindeer, and the resources crucial to their system were found locally. They were an egalitarian culture. In the early 1960s the reindeer herders adopted the use of snowmobiles. The consequences of this: the cost of maintaining the snowmobiles created dependency on the outside world (Haviland). GET EXAMPLE OF THE CREE!

The Cultural Future of Humanity

* One World Culture: idea that all cultures will adopt the same ideals and will therefore ultimately be the same

* Rise of multinational corporations, such as Coca Cola

* Example – the worldwide use of currency, such as the Trobriand currencies of armshells, bundles and skirts (Weiner).

* Some people see these corporations and the World Bank as a means of preventing the development and democracy of poor countries

* Ethnic resurgence: when ethnic groups resist the idea of the one world culture and modernization. Example – the Shuar (Jivaro) deliberately avoided modernization, so they took control of their own governance despite outside pressures (Haviland).

* Cultural pluralism: social and political interaction of people with different ways of living and thinking within the same society. Example – Canada’s diversity and many cities (Haviland).

* Ethnocentrism: the tendency to look at the world from the views of one’s own culture

* Global Apartheid: system of segregation or discrimination on racial grounds, based on the ideas of ethnocentrism. Example – the separation of whites from blacks in South Africa (Haviland).

Problems of Structural Violence

* Structural violence: violence exerted by institutions, situations, and social, political, and economic spheres. Example – the economic collapse of East Asian countries in 1997, when these countries had to make drastic cuts in social services in order to survive, with a calamitous effect on the citizens (Haviland).

* Problems include world hunger, pollution, and population control

Systems of Belief and Knowledge

Death and Mourning

Attitudes towards death:

o Attitudes towards death vary according to the believed cause:

o Varying attitudes towards suicides. Examples – in Catholicism, suicides are a sin, while the Japanese see it as a way to retain the pride and dignity earned in life.

o The life of the deceased person may be celebrated. Example – in Africa, death is the last phase of the elaborate celebration of the life cycle and is recognized through a rite of passage that prepares the spirit of the deceased to journey on to the next realm. In Islam and Judaism, life is similarly not seen as a tragedy.

o Some cultures mourn and grieve, and have special traditions for deaths. Example – Jewish people mourn a death with a period called a Shiva, lasting from burial until the seventh day afterwards in which friends and family sit together, pray, and traditionally abstain from work, pleasure, and grooming, but after the 30th day, all but the children of the deceased are finished their mourning – the deceased’s offspring refrain from celebrations and recite prayers for the dead for one year after the burial

o In some cultures, deaths are seen as a relative non-event. Example – in Brazil shantytowns, infanticide is common because people are often too poor to support all of their children. The people believe that every child is angel and to cry at the funeral would make their wings too heavy to reach heaven, but it is common for there to be no funeral, no visiting of the grave, and no mention of the deaths.

o Some cultures have traditions for the treatment of a body or process of a funeral. Example – Egyptians believed that it is very important to preserve the physical body for its journey to the next life, so they developed the art of mummification or embalming. Trobrianders also have special rites for death: members of the family and village receive roles as “owners” or “workers” based on their relationship to the deceased, and have specific roles and taboos. For example, workers shave their hair off and paint their bodies black while owners do not, but owners must obey taboos – they cannot carry the body, dig the grave, or wear mourning attire.

o Some cultures believe that deaths are “god’s will”. Example – Many Christians believe that death, particularly when the person is old and dies of natural causes, is part of God’s plan.

o Other cultures see deaths as an act of some evil source. Example – For the Trobrianders, death is not easily accepted and is considered to be sorcery unless the death is when an old person passes away in his/her sleep. They believe that the death of a child is a direct attack to that matrilineage.

o Many cultures see death not as an end but as a passage to another stage of life. Example – the Trobrianders believe that death is a period of renewal, rather than the ending of life. The deceased’s good spirit; called baloma joins other spirits of dead Trobrianders on the island of Tuma, which is just 20 miles from Kiriwina. On reaching Tuma, the baloma spirit is revitalized and made young again and continues to live on Tuma

Youth and Sexuality

Anthropology and the Study of Human sexuality

* Sexuality has only recently become of interest to anthropologists, with Margaret Mead and Bronislaw Malinowski as pioneers

* Difficulties when studying sexuality:

o Sexuality is generally treated as a private matter, people aren’t willing to discuss it

o Ideal and real cultures tend to differ greatly. Example – Western societies traditionally value virginity and forbid premarital sex, but most people do not actually adhere to these rules

* There’s a great deal of variation across cultures in attitudes towards and practices of sexuality, but certain aspects appear to be universal. Example – the Mukkuvar people of South India see female sexuality as a kind of social prosperity inseparable from fertility, but many Christian societies place a similar value on chastity (Haviland)

* Sexuality is intertwined with gender, and culturally attributed characteristics of gender often contribute to the way sexuality is approached in a culture

* Sexuality is culturally defined, while sex is biological

Access and control of sexual relations

Youth

* Many cultures place restrictions on the sexual activity of adolescents. Example – in the Middle East, the virginity of girls is very valuable, so unmarried women are strictly controlled and protected from unwanted advances.

* In some cultures, experimentation with multiple partners is encouraged. Example – Trobriand youth are encouraged to engage in sexual play, and play erotic games from age 7 or 8 and begin seeking partners when puberty begins, changing partners frequently. Conversations are often filled with sexual innuendos that express the young people’s intention. (Weiner).

* In some cultures which permit premarital sex, the young are married soon after reaching biological maturity. Example – the Maasai: pre-pubescent girls engage in sexual play with warriors until menstruation, and then are circumcised and married to much older men (Haviland).

Family

* Incest taboo is culturally universal, but it is defined and practiced differently

* Prohibits sexual relations with the nuclear, and often the extended, family. Example – sexual relations with cousins are considered incestuous in modern Western societies, but were once accepted.

* Functions of the incest taboo:

o Establishes alliances and extends peaceful relations beyond the group

o Promotes genetic mixture

o Preserves family roles and guards against socially destructive conflict

* Types of cousins:

o Parallel cousins: your mother’s sister’s child, or father’s brother’s child

o Cross-cousins: your mother’s brother’s child, or father’s sister’s child

* Exogamy: “marrying out”

* Endogamy: “marrying in”

Same sex

* Control over gay and lesbian sexuality varies across cultures

* Gay relations between men are often more accepted than lesbianism

* Rejection of homosexuality became common with the spread of Christianity

* In many cultures, homosexual behaviour is seen as natural and expected. Example – in Papua New Guinea (WHAT CULTURE???) young men partake in an initiation that involves homosexual acts and are homosexual for several years before they marry into a heterosexual relationship (Haviland). Etoro men of New Guinea prefer homosexual relations, believing that sex with females weakens males and should occur only for reproductive reasons (Haviland).

Alternative genders

* Identified in many cultures

* Sometimes accepted. Example – the “two-spirit” or Berdache of North America has been recorded in many aboriginal groups. They are more often men than women, and have a dream that legitimizes their choice to become another gender. They become androgynous, and this identity has more to do with roles and work than the desire to change one’s sex. They have important social, religious, and economic roles to fulfill and hold a high and respected status in their community. (Haviland).

o Construction of identity – Allying oneself with a particular gender and sexual orientation helps to create a sense of personal identity. In this sense, one’s culture helps to construct not only a sense of culturally identity, but also of personal identity.

o Systems of exchange – In sexual relationships, choosing a lover frequently has to do with gauging their ability to satisfy and provide. Gifts are often exchanged to prove this capability.

o Witchcraft, magic, sorcery and divination – Practiced in many cultures, these are based on the belief that certain individuals posses an innate psychic power capable of causing harm, including sickness and death. Although witchcraft and sorcery are mostly used in a negative way, magic, as in the culture of the Trobrianders, is widely used in a love relationship to gain another person’s acceptance.

o Emotions and affect – In some cultures, such as our own, sex is viewed as much more than a biological function; it is seen as a spiritual connection that can incite strong feelings between partners. Jealously is an emotion strongly linked to sex; if one’s lover takes a new partner, resentment, distrust, anger and even violence can follow.

o Purity and Impurity – Sexual relations can be seen to purifying or to degrading.

o Islam and Christianity value virginity. Those who have premarital sex are defiled.

o The Etoro think that boys who ingest semen from older men will grow to be strong and healthy. Conversely, giving semen to a woman saps male vitality.

o Alliance and marriage – In societies where premarital sex is accepted, lovers can eventually commit to alliance of marriage. In this way, sexuality is a stepping stone to more serious economic and social alliances. In societies where premarital sex is prohibited, sexual relations can be the first new experience of marriage.

o Taboos – Taboos, most notably the incest taboo, are very effective culturally constructed methods of restricting and controlling sexual relations within a society.

Social Organization

Matrilineality

Terms

o Descent- The tracing of kinship relations through parentage.

o Descent Group- A social group whose members claim common ancestry. (Lineages, clans, phratries and moieties, see pages 271-273 in Cultural Anthropology)

o Lineage- Descent group composed of consaguineal kin who trace descent back to a common ancestor.

o Ambilineal Descent- One is descended from both parents and can choose which descent group to be more affiliated with.

o Double Descent- Descent is reckoned matrilineally and patrilineally at the same time. Very rare.

o Unilineal Descent- Descent is recognized through one parent only (either exclusively through the mother or exclusively through the father)

o Matrilineal Descent- Kinship is traced through the female line. Men and women inherit membership into a matrilineal family line, but only women can pass it on to their children. (AKA Uterine descent)

o Patrilineal Descent- Kinship is traced through the male line. Men and women inherit membership into a patrilineal family line, but only men can pass it on to their children. (AKA Agnatic descent)

o Kin- People we are related to

o Consanguineal Kin- Blood related

o Affinial Kin- “In-laws”

Functions of the descent group

o Maintains integrity of resources that can’t be divided without destruction and to keep land in a corporate group that will always be around. Example – in horticultural societies, it often doesn’t make sense to divide certain parts of land (Haviland?).

o Generates work forces for tasks too big for a single descent group. Example – Trobriand mortuary distributions (Weiner).

o Members of one group have access to support/protection from other groups. Example – one group can provide resources for another which can’t provide its own

o Organize and deal with issues such as regulating sexual activity, economic cooperation between men and women, proper settings for childbearing.

o While some societies, example – north America, use a political system to deal with these issues, others example – The Trobrianders – use kinship groups

The other parent

* Just because descent is traced matrilineally, for example, the father and his relatives/members of his matrilineage are not unimportant. For purposes of group membership, the father’s relatives are excluded, but they still play a vital role in the life of the child. Example – a child gets his/her commonly used name from his father’s matrilineage, the bride/groom of a new marriage receive presents from their paternal kin, sons inherit personal property from their fathers, etc.

Matrilineality

o Generally exists where women are the main breadwinners

o Descent is traced through female members of a common ancestry

* 15% of all cultures are matrilineal

* Tend to have lower levels of paternity confidence compared to patrilineal societies

* Children belong to their mother’s matrilineage

* Married couples most often live with or near the wife’s family- matrilocality. Example – Nayars- married Nayar woman lives with her mother and her line of relatives

* Unlike in patrilineal societies, matrilineality does not automatically confer authority

o Matrilineal cultures are not matriarchal

o Women may have considerable power but they do not hold exclusive authority, share authority with men

o In some societies, like those of the Iroquois or Hopi, matrilineal kinship is associated with public leadership positions for women

o “Universal male dominance” p.306-307, p.328-331 in Cultural Anthropology

* Brothers of the women that descent is reckoned through usually play important authoritative roles

* Common in many matrilineal systems: weak tie between husband and wife

o Wife’s brother, not husband, distributes goods, organizes work, settles disputes, administers inheritance, etc.

o The husband has legal authority in his sister’s house rather than his own

o Man’s sister’s son inherits his status, rather than his own son

o Therefore brother + sister = lifelong tie, marriages easily severed, high divorce rates

* Ideologies about conception give primacy to the contribution of the mother to the fetus.

* Matrilineal societies are found in South Asia: India, Ski Lanka, Indonesia, Sumatra, Tibet, South China, some North American aboriginal groups such as Huron, Iroquois, parts of Africa; usually in farming communities where a lot of the productive work is done by women

Examples of Matrilineality:

* Nair community in South India- matrilineal system

o Eldest mother- head of family

o Family called Tarawad

* Consists of mother and her children living with mother’s brother

* Judaism:

o Orthodox Judaism: a person is Jewish if he/she is a proselyte (convert) or a child of a Jewish mother

o Reform Judaism in the U.S. officially adopted a bilineal policy in 1983

* One is Jewish if either parent is Jewish provided that one is either raised by a Jew or engages in an appropriate act of public identification

* Sometimes called “Liberal Judaism”

* Iroquois:

o Clan- owns a longhouse where clan members live

o Matrilocality preferred

o Senior women of matrilineages- “clan mothers”- great esteem, considered wisest, most generous, most good natured

* Receive great respect, control over resources, political power, play a role in selecting/demoting chiefs/advisers

* Power of clan mothers led Europeans to identify this culture as a matriarchy

o Incorrect- Iroquois culture was egalitarian

Trobrianders and Matrilineality

o An individual is a member of a matrilineage

o Also belongs to 1 of 4 matrilineal clans (kumila)

o Unlike matrilineages, matriclans don’t have chiefs or leaders. Also, don’t share any property (i.e. spells, land, decorations)

o Function of clans: to separate villagers into marriageable or nonmarriageable categories

o Each village (valu) – divided into hamlets (katuposula). Hamlet represents a matrilineage, although only a few members of the matrilineage may reside there

* Women live with their husbands and men often live with their fathers

o Kumila- matrilineal clan. Clan is composed of many matrilineages. No ancestors. Identifying totems

o Hundreds of matrilineages, four clans

* Malasi, Lukuba, Lukwasisiga and Lukulabuta

Death and Matrilineage

* Most deaths are seen as the result of sorcery, viewed as an attack against the vitality of a matrilineage

* Death of a child- attack against continued power of the matrilineage for the next generation

* Death of a male- attempt to weaken the autonomy of the chief or leader of the matrilineage. Killing the male is removing supporters/ potential heirs.

* Death of women/girl of child-bearing age- attempted destruction of the entire matrilineage itself. Can’t reproduce, matrilineage dies out, property/rank of lineage can be claimed

* Owner- member of deceased matrilineage

* Worker- villagers from other clans related to deceased through marriage or patrilaterally

Matrilineal Ancestry

* Ancestors- usually a woman and her brother of each matrilineage

* Brought some/all: special body/house decorations, ancestral names, magic spells, food taboos, songs, dances

* Pair chooses a place to build houses and marks out areas for garden lands

* According to specific matrilineages’ histories, some ancestors brought more than others

o More important paraphernalia were, higher rank of members of matrilineages who owned them

o Some could take over fertile lands, others trouble in finding land

o Therefore, even today, matrilineages remain unequal in resources

* Each founding brother and sister didn’t arrive alone; other sibling sets came from same place together. The lineage ancestors who came together- allies- continue to be so

* Only some ancestors came to Kiriwina with food taboos and certain shell body decorations- ranked them as chiefly lineage

Conception, Childhood, and Matrilineality

* Spirit child enters a woman who is a member of the same matrilineage to which its original baloma (matrilineal ancestral spirit that is believed to live on the island of Tuma) spirit also belong when it was alive on Kiriwina

* Fetus= woman’s blood + ancestral spirit

o Both of some matrilineage therefore it acquires its mother’s matrilineal identity

* As a right of birth, child has certain privileges and interests in the property of the matrilineage

* Baby- name from its mother, name previously belonged to a deceased member of her matrilineage.

o Ancestral names thus regenerate matrilineal identity through time

o Name marks the importance of claiming matrilineal rights

o First public recognition matrilineal identity

* Rarely called by true ancestral names. When child is born, father asks his sister to find an ancestral name from their matrilineage

o Child usually called by this name

o This is only a loan, names are matrilineal property which can’t be passed on

* Frequent intercourse when mother is pregnant, father thus builds up and nurtures the fetus

* A child’s decorations are given by his/her father, symbolizes the social importance of the child’s father’s matrilineal kin.

Chiefs, Hierarchy and Matrilineage

* All of matrilineage’s property is controlled by a chief or other leader

* Right to wear chiefly decorations/follow chiefly food taboos extends to all members of chiefly matrilineages. (To an extent, see page 102)

* Chief- polygamy- therefore highest-ranking chiefs able to create affinial relationships among many matrilineages outside their own clan

Marriage and Matrilineage

* Marriage not just love match, is also important political step involving other villagers, along with couple

* Marriage= new affinial alliances or old ones are reestablished between members of two matrilineages

* Can’t marry person in the same clan, considered incestuous. Ideal to marry someone of father’s clan.

The Politics of Yams and Matrilineage

* Piles of yams in gardens reveal all the important matrilineal kin and affinial connections that dominate harvest

* Father’s role (relatively unmentioned by Malinowkski) in child’s life: wife’s father makes her a yam garden every year after 1st. 5-10 Years later brother takes over

* Political fame and forcefulness of the matrilineage mostly depend on the yams that move across the matrilineal boundaries when they are given by affines.

* Woman and husband receive yams from her brother every year. Therefore, husband must help her find bundles whenever someone of her matrilineage dies. By giving yams to his sister, assures women’s wealth from someone in another matrilineage for his own matrilineage.

Mortuary Distributions and Reciprocity between Matrilineages

* Dead person’s matrilineage needs bundles

o Death- result of sorcery: need to demonstrate strength to commemorate the deceased and politically confirm the wealth and vitality of the matrilineage in the face of loss

* Women give away wealth: establish their own wealth and also make their brothers and other members of their matrilineage appear unaffected by a sorcerer’s success

* Owners- dead person’s matrilineal kin

* Workers- relationship to dead person: affinial, patrilateral or keyawa and cross-clan friends

o Are paid bundles/skirts by owners because they attended to the dead person, the burial, and all mourning restrictions

o “Carried the dead” and his/her things i.e. hair, nails (inserted in cowerie shells) woman’s skirt, man’s purse, skull, jawbones or long bones

o Shaved hair, bodies blackened, mourning skirts, or (new custom) black cloth tied around their arms

* Male workers also receive bundles but they are received by wives or sisters

* Women line up, present bundles to owner whose husband is their “brother”

o Present these things to brother’s wife to “help her” with the distribution

o In doing so, they show off their brother’s strong position

* Distribution sort of like men’s yam competition: members of one matrilineage give wealth to members of other matrilineages from other clans (simply put)

o Illustrates the close dependency the members of one matrilineage have with another

* Women owners are helped in the distribution by their brothers’ married daughters- members of other clans who give away their wealth also

o Clearly not matrilineal kin because their bodies are blackened

o Shameful to publicly say that these women aren’t true owners

* To say so publicly marks a matrilineage’s dependence on outsiders

o Father created yam houses for his daughter, she becomes obligated to assist the women of her father’s matrilineage when they are organizing a distribution

o Women work not only for their matrilineage but for that of their father’s

* Marriage and yam/skirt/bundle exchanges create obligations to and through one’s father. Therefore patrilateral relationships are significant for matrilineal activities.

* Father- first relationship through which resources from another matrilineage are available

* Spouse- second relationship

* Consequently, father and spouse receive major payments of the day

* Other people who are paid: affines, keyawa, patrilateral kin, men who did Kula exchanges with

* Final procession- present skirts/cloth to house of bereaved father. Men owners- dead person’s matrilineal kinsmen and their sons and keyawa kin enter and give man’s wealth to father and spouse

* Man’s economic eminence and political stature is underlined by his wife and her brother, members of a different matrilineage.

Fame, Inalienability, and Regeneration of Matrilineality

* Although through women and baloma spirits, matrilineage is thought to be inalienable, still subject to jeopardy

* To make clear who one is politically and where one belongs ancestrally, must establish some control over others outside the matrilineage

o Men- yams- key to control

* Bundle distributions by women owners- point out where villagers belong in their kinship and affinial connection with each other and expose the political positions of those they reward. Also, way for woman of the deceased’s matrilineage to show who they are individually

* Woman owner- marks status of her brother and husband

* Women owners collectively- show off the eminence and vitality of matrilineage

* Distribution purposes:

o To look strong

o To untie the deceased from all of his/her relationships, pay back debts. Essentially, it separates the person from past obligations

o At same time, pay back- cutting ties, women momentarily suspend relationships with other clans and expose the authority of the matrilineage as an inalienable force requiring nothing from anyone else

* Short lived- realistically, matrilineages depend on others

* Free of debt, the matrilineage can expand outwards again and regenerate relationships

* At the center of this reaching out across marital, lineage, clan and generational boundaries is a woman and her brother- the primary relationship which constitutes each matrilineage

* Bundles- repay debts, skirts of women and valuables of their brothers’ begin the regenerative process

* Procession to father, women carry new red skirt- symbolize sexuality and fertility- the active components of matrilineal autonomy “soft valuables”

o They carry the wealth that gives them a socially preeminent and politically forceful role in Kiriwina society. Through distributions of their wealth, they are illustrating the stability of the matrilineage and beliefs associated with conception

o Expressing inalienability of the matrilineage when that identity is most under attack

* Next comes brothers with Kula shells and stone axe-blades

o These are hard, old, last for generations

o Represent the connection between one person and others

o “Hard valuables”

* First time “hard” and “soft” valuables come together, collectively show the strength of the matrilineage and the effort members make to restore social and political relationships (which the death left in question)

o Shows the necessity to redefine individual status and matrilineal authority

* Soft valuables symbolize the inalienability of matrilineal identity

* Hard valuables- symbolize the connection between one person and others

Disappearing Matrilineages

* Matrilineal kinship seems to be declining worldwide

o Western missionaries

o Result of globalized Western/European cultural forces: colonialism and neocolonialism

* Establishes patrilineal kinship norms through the spread of Western education, religion, and law

* Ex. European colonial rule in Africa and Asia

o Decline in matrilineal kinship by registering land/property in the names of assumed male heads of household (where women may have been the heads)

* Eroded women’s rights/power

Characteristics of Patrilineal Descent Groups

* Patrilineal descent- generally exists where male labour is a prime factor, men support the family

* More widespread than matrilineality

* Descent is traced through male members of a common ancestry

* A woman belongs to her father’s descent group but her children belong to her husband’s descent group

* Father or his eldest brother usually assumes the responsibility of training the children

* New married couple usually goes to live near or with the groom’s family and both husband and wife will work for his family’s workforce.

* “Man’s world” but women can manipulate the system to their own advantage

o See page 266 in Cultural Anthropology to read about women in traditional Chinese society: “Coping as a Woman in a Man’s World”

Marriage and Politics

What is marriage?

o A relationship between one or more men (male or female) and one or more women (male or female) recognized by society as having a continuing claim to the right of sexual access to one another.

Different forms of Marriage

o Monogamy: an individual has only one spouse. The most popular form of marriage throughout the world, mainly for economic reasons. Example – North Americans typically practice monogamy.

o Polygyny: a man marries more than one woman. Reasons vary, but it is usually practiced for economic reasons – multiple wives and children are required to care for the land and livestock. Examples – the Turkana people of Northern Kenya marry more than one woman to take care of the livestock. Trobriand chiefs marry multiple women so that they can gain the wealth from the yam gardens of their wives. The Kapauku of western New Guinea try to have as many wives as possible, and urges her husband to spend money to acquire more wives, but women will divorce their husbands if they can prove that the men can afford more wives but refuse to marry.

o Polyandry: the marriage of one woman to many men. Reasons are to prevent the dividing of possessions, to restrain population growth and reduce strain on resources, and provide a household with male labour. Example – many Tibetans practice polyandry (frequently fraternal polyandry, in which one woman marries a group of brothers) to avoid overpopulating the land.

o Group marriage: several people have access to one another.

o Levirate and sororate marriages: a widow or widower marries the brother or sister of his or her dead spouse, often to provide social security in the society (to ensure that there are enough kin for this, cousins are often classified as brothers and sisters).

o Serial monogamy: a man or woman marries or lives with a series of partners in successful. Example – this is common in Western societies in which there is a high divorce rate.

o Cousin marriage: a man or woman marries his or her cousin. Types of cousin marriage:

o Matrilineal cross-cousin marriage. Example – usually found in food-foraging groups which have little property but need to establish and maintain strong ties between social groups.

o Patrilateral cross-cousin marriage. Keeps wealth within the family and the transfer of property from generation to generation.

o Patrilateral parallel-cousin marriage. Keeps property in the male line of descent. Example – usually found in societies where property and other valuables are passed down from generation to generation.

Reasons for marriage

o To strengthen a bond between a man and a woman

o To create economic stability. Example – to split the costs for a house or hydro bill.

o To create ties between groups

o To reduce competition for sexual access – this is why marriage is such a universal idea

o Political reasons. Example – for the Trobrianders, after a man gets married he may gain political power but only if he has strong support from his wife’s relatives.

Choosing a mate

o The idea that an individual can marry whomever he or she wants is a strange phenomenon – this ideal is flawed mainly due to our North American emphasis on youth and beauty

o In most parts of the world, marriage is seen as far too important to be left up to young people and is thus “arranged” by the family elders, usually by parents

o Arranged marriages are usually arranged for the economic and political advantages, not for love

Prices of marriage

o Bride-price is often paid to the bride’s parents – often the case in cultures where the bride becomes part of the groom’s family to reimburse the bride’s family for the loss of their daughter as a labourer and for the children she produces

o Bride service: groom works for the bride’s family for a certain period of time

o Dowry: bride’s family pays the groom’s. Example – in our culture, the bride’s family usually pays for the wedding. In some cultures, the dowry also functions as a sort of guarantee that the bride will be taken care of even after her husband is dead

Divorce

o Divorce in non-Western culture is often not taken lightly by the couple and their families

o Marriage is usually for economic reasons, so divorce can be for many reasons:

o Sterility or impotence. Example – this is good grounds for a divorce among the Gusii of Kenya.

o If the husband was considered cruel or failed as a provider. Example – in the Yahgan, at the southernmost tip of South America, this was seen as a justified reason for divorce

o Lack of economic cooperation. Example – The Kapauku of western New Guinea try to have as many wives as possible, and urges her husband to spend money to acquire more wives, but women will divorce their husbands if they can prove that the men can afford more wives but refuse to marry.

o An adult unmarried woman is almost unheard of in non-Western culture, and usually remarries quickly – usually for economic reasons

Politics in marriage

o Marriage often plays an important role in politics. Example – in our culture, most elected government officials are married and have a family, to signify stability, wealth, and a certain mindset of the person. For the Trobrianders, having a good yam garden is an asset, and this is achieved through a good relationship with one’s wife’s family – a man can only develop political power if his wife’s family supports him

Terms

o Marriage: a relationship between one or more men (male or female) and one of more women (female or male) recognized by society as having a continuing claim to the right of sexual access to one another.

o Affinal kin: relatives by marriage

o Bride-price: compensation the groom or his family pays to the bride’s family at marriage

o Bride-service: a designated period after marriage when the groom works for the bride’s family

o Consanguineal kin: relatives by birth “blood relatives”

o Conjugal bond: the bond between a man and woman who are married

o Endogamy: marriage within a group or category of individuals

o Exogamy: marriage outside the group or category of individuals

o Levirate: marriage custom whereby a widow marries the brother of her dead husband

o Matrilineal cross-cousin marriage: marriage of a woman to her father’s sister’s son or of a man to his mother’s brother’s daughter Monogamy: marriage in which an individual has only one spouse

o Patrilateral cross-cousin marriage: marriage of a man to his father’s sister’s daughter

o Patrilateral parallel-cousin marriage: marriage of a man to his father’s brother’s daughter or of a woman to her father’s brother’s son (marrying your cousin on your father’s side)

o Polygamy: marriage in which an individual has more than one spouse

o Polygyny: marriage in which a man has more than one wife simultaneously

o Polyandry: marriage in which a woman has more than one husband simultaneously

o Sororate: a widower marries his dead wife’s sister

Chiefs and Hierarchy

Definitions

o Chiefdom: A regional government in which two or more groups are organized under a single individual; the Chief, who is the highest ranked individual in the society.

o Chief: The head of chiefdom. Most often a man who’s right to rule is hereditary. Chiefs also have rights to certain privileges and symbols of office.

o Taboo: A ban or an inhibition on an object or practise as a result of social custom. Example – For Trobriand chiefs, food taboos are a symbol of the chief’s office, and each chiefly matrilineage introduced their own dietary restrictions with the founding of their hamlet. (Weiner)

Polygyny: The marriage one man to two or more women simultaneously. Example – Trobriand chiefs are given the right to practice polygyny even though this isn’t allowed for common people. Polygyny is a practical advantage for the chief, because he gains more wealth from the yam gardens of his many wives. (Weiner)

o Symbol of office: A particular method of dress, body decoration, or an item that a person’s has that denotes their position within a social hierarchy, in this case; the rank of chief. Example – food taboos for Trobriand chiefs (Weiner)

Governance in a chiefdom

o Chiefdoms were the first form of centralized authority and social hierarchy to be practiced by human beings. Chiefdom was once the most widely practiced form of government and today is still practiced in many societies. The role of chief has also been integrated into modern governments in some countries as well. As mentioned earlier chiefs are regional authority figures. They require a combination of personal ability, consent, and often hereditary status in order to be effective rulers. These requirements also influence the decisions they make as leaders. Example –

Chief’s role

o Leader of their societies, serve the role of organizer

o Amount of power varies depending on the culture as well as the ability of the chief to maintain the people’s respect – a chief with a good image of authority is most successful

o May have power over a geographic region, clan, or specific ethnic or social group within a community

o Typically have a say in many aspects of life including economics, political relationships, law and justice – often serve as judges do in our society

o This role is important because the chief must keep his people united

Gaining and Maintaining power

o Requirements to gain status of chief differ from culture to culture. Often hereditary. Example – Trobriand chiefs gain their power through their matrilineage (Weiner)

o Chiefs may hold their position for life, a designated time period, up to a certain age, or until challenged for their power

* Must work to maintain power. They can often use intimidation to maintain power. Example – Trobriand chiefs can be rivaled by other hamlet leaders in their villages, and can overcome the competition by demonstrating abilities. They can demonstrate their power by building a reputation in magic. Gaining a strong reputation allows the chief to gain wealth as more yam gardens are built for him annually. Chiefly magic practices differ from commoners, chiefs are allowed to openly display their involvement with an incident that is believed to be caused by magic. For example, when a man believed of killing a chief died, Vanoi walked through his house in bright clothing to signal he had fallen victim to his sorcery (Weiner)

* Rivalries can exist between chiefs of a region, and the role of chief can become a class with its own internal hierarchy with high-ranking and low-ranking chiefs.

* Often a chief’s primary goals are to be able to command respect of his people and maintain relations with his neighbours. Example – Trobriand chiefs try to persevere historical relationships between his and allied matrilineages. A good chief will go a step further and build alliances with other matrilineages through his actions, both as hamlet leader and chief, because the more alliances he can build, and positive relationships he can cultivate, the more Yams he will receive annually (Weiner)

Status and benefits

* The office of chief frequently comes with special benefits which commoners within the society will not have access to. Advantages to being a chief can include more property, a portion of the community’s wealth, the right to wear symbols of status, special treatment from lower ranked persons, and the right to follow certain cultural practices which are not done so by the mainstream. Example – Trobriand chiefs can openly use magic (Weiner).

* A chief’s privileges often allow him to accumulate a considerable amount of wealth during his career1, and this can be measured in things such as property, livestock, and currency. Example – in Liberia chiefs are salaried by the government for their role in maintaining societal order (Haviland). Trobriand chiefs can accumulate more yams than other men because they are allowed to have multiple wives. (Weiner)

* Chiefs may choose to redistribute wealth among their people, or to keep it within their family as to be passed on to the next chief. Chief’s often have priority access to resources, such as food and medicine.

* The right to practice certain traditions is another benefit that comes with the rank of chief. These traditions may include certain ceremonial or religious practices, types of marriage, or following certain dietary restrictions. Example – Trobriand chiefs are allowed to practice polygyny, while common people cannot.

Chiefs and family hierarchies

* In many cases chiefs are not the only ones who benefit from the privileges of their position. In many cultures the traditions and rights granted to a chief will also extend to his family, to varying degrees. This creates not just an individual, but a group of people who are of a higher social standing than the common people. This group would have similar access to resources, land, property, and symbols of status.

Social stratification

Theories of Stratification:

* Functionalist theory of stratification: inequality is necessary to maintain complex societies. Example:

o In Canada we need maintenance workers, teachers, and physicians to maintain the society, but each possesses a different status; incentives are given to people who pursue the time and education for difficult professions, such as surgeons.

o Weakness of this theory is that we don’t always reward those most necessary in maintaining society – hockey players are paid much more than nurses; there are barriers to high-prestige professions, and minorities can’t always get them; also the theory assumes that everyone is motivated to seek the highest paying, highest status jobs, but there are other factors in choosing work

* Conflict theory of stratification: a power struggle takes place between the upper and lower levels of a society. Related to Marxist theory

Racial stratification

* Racism: when the belief that races can be superior or inferior to each other is carried out through discrimination. Examples in Canada – First Nations reserves and residential schools. Internment of Japanese in WWII. Exclusionary laws against Chinese. Recent backlash against immigrants from Muslim countries

Ethnic stratification (See page 308)

* Ethnicity: a group of people who share a common identity, history, and territory of origin, and may exhibit distinctive language, dress, cuisine, and religious practices

* Ethnicity changes, such as with immigration to a new country, and no ethnic group is entirely homogenous

* Discrimination takes place based on ethnicity. Example – People in North America who are not white are often paid less than white workers

Class and Caste: (See pages 302-306)

* Class: a category of individuals who enjoy equal or nearly equal prestige according to the evaluation system.

o Can be divided in many ways

o People can change classes

o Based on merit; achieved status

* Caste: special form of social class in which membership is determined by birth and remains fixed for life, also known as ascribed status. Example – The system in India, with priests (Brahmins) at the top and “untouchables” at the bottom. The apartheid in South Africa could be considered a kind of caste system (Haviland)

* Symbolic Indicators: things that show what class a person is. Examples – Size of house, amount of bathrooms. Make of car. Profession. Vacations, having a cottage. Styles of dress or ownership of electronics, appliances, or computers (Haviland)

* Closed-class systems: stratified societies that severely restrict social mobility

* Open-class systems: stratified societies that permit a great deal of social mobility

Groupings/divisions

Economic Systems

Anthropology and Economic Systems

Economic anthropology is a linking between economic and social life. It attempts to use one branch of scientific theory and thought to explain another. In this case, it is an attempt to describe anthropological characteristics as rooted in economic factors.

How do anthropologists study Economic Systems?

o Anthropologists study how goods are produced, distributed, and, consumed in the context of the total culture.

o Most feel principles derived from the study of Western market economies have limited applicability to economic systems where people do not produce and exchange goods for profit.

How do economies work?

o Every human culture has a division of labour by age and sex, with some additional craft specialization.

o Land and other valuable resources usually are controlled by groups of relatives, or by private ownership.

o Most goods are consumed by the group that produces them.

o Leveling mechanisms ensure that no one accumulates significantly more goods than anyone else.

Traditional economic systems

o Traditional Economic Systems: A person’s economic role is the same as their parents and grandparents; essentially you are born into a specific role. Goods and services are produced traditionally where a family will plant and harvest their own food and make their own clothes. Example – the aborigines of Australia are self-reliant and hunt for their own food and follow a system of cultural beliefs that has been passed on through generations for thousands of years. However, these systems, because of their long and continuous history adapt very slowly to change and new technology.

Market economic systems

o Market Economic Systems: This system depends on the decision of consumers and sellers in an economy. The nation’s economy fluctuates based on the demands of consumers and competitive pricing amongst sellers. In this system anyone can go into business or open their own business and compete on the market. Example – the United States where there is a high demand for cars. The car industry will be very strong and different companies will compete with each other by adjusting their prices to entice consumers. However, if there is no demand for a product then that industry will be in danger of going out of business.

Command economic systems

o The government controls what businesses are essential and what goods and services can be provided. They then sell these goods and dictate how worker’s skills are to be used. In this case the government has complete control over the economy and workers must obey the government and cannot open their own businesses. Example – the former Soviet Union used command economics to control the workers with the aim to strengthen the nation and maintain their borders.

Communism:

o The government owns and operates nearly all mean of production although some private farm plots are allowed. Government planners dictate how resources are to be divided. Example – this is seen in China, although many more private businesses have been able to be opened in the past few years.

Socialism:

o The government controls the major industries such as banks, power plants, and airlines; but individuals can open their own businesses, farms, and factories. Example – This exists in Sweden where the government owns major operations like coal-mining and telephones but also entitles all citizens to free health care.

Capitalism:

o Also known as free enterprise, most businesses, stores, and factories are owned and operated by individuals. Example – this happens in the United States where consumers completely influence the economy and most services are privatized meaning that people have to pay for their health care.

Reciprocity

o Reciprocity: exchange of goods and services of roughly equivalent value

Kinds of Reciprocity

* Generalized reciprocity – an exchange in which the value of what is given is not calculated, nor is the time of repayment specified. Example – Aboriginal hunters in Australia kill an animal and the meat is divided among the hunters’ families so that everyone gets a share (share depends on kinship ties to hunters). Gift giving and “what goes around comes around”

* Balanced reciprocity – not part of a long-term process; the giving and receiving as well as the time for reciprocation are more specific and people have an obligation to reciprocate promptly for the sake of their relationships. Example – Trading baseball cards, buying someone else a drink. In the Trobrianders, after a person in a clan dies, there is a mortuary distribution in which women exchange skirts and bundles. The women “workers” are repaid by the “owners” for their services, when the equivalent of four or five hundred dollars of bundles and skirts are distributed to the “workers” . Men are responsible for providing their sisters and sisters’ husbands with yams, creating a debt that can only be repaid in women’s wealth. The brother does this only if his sister’s husband supplies her with bundles when she needs them. (Weiner)

* Negative reciprocity – giver tries to get the better end of the deal; parties often have opposing interests and are usually not members of the same communities or closely related – the ultimate form of this is theft or taking something by force. Example – The lying car-salesperson. Among Navajo, “to deceive when trading with foreign peoples is morally accepted.” (Haviland 173).

Redistribution

* Redistribution: when income flows into public coffers and is distributed back to the people. Example – Inca Empire in Peru, well known for collection of taxes and methods of control. Census was kept of population and resources, quotas set for producers of crafts, forced labour used for agricultural or mining work, careful accounts kept of income and expenditures. North American tax systems. (Haviland). Trobriand chiefs often accumulate a surplus of wealth because they receive yam gardens from the brothers of multiple wives. During the harvest season, chiefs hold large competitions with prizes and parties, and a chief must have the necessary wealth and prizes for a competition before he can sponsor one. During the harvest, the accumulated wealth of the chief is distributed among other villagers through these competitions and parties. This is an example of redistribution because income that is collected by the chief is then given back to the people. It is more specifically an example of conspicuous consumption, in which wealth is distributed by the chief who has accumulated a surplus. (Weiner)

Market Exchange

* Market Exchange: buying and selling of goods and services with prices set by powers of supply and demand. Example – The Toronto Stock Exchange, in which the demand for a specific stock determines that stock’s price

* Market exchange does not necessarily take place at a specific location

* Money: anything used to make payments for goods or labour as well as to measure their value; may be special-purpose or multipurpose. Example – Trobriand bundles, skirts, and yams are used as a kind of money. These are special-purpose. (Weiner). Aztecs used cacao beans and cotton cloaks, the beans were usually a supplement to barter if goods were not deemed equal; cloaks were special-purpose: only for credit, land purchase, restitution for theft, and to ransom slaves (Haviland). Ancient Celts used to pay their fines in cows. Special purpose because cows were used only for fines, not for purchasing goods or services. Tiv of West Africa: brass rods could be used to purchase cattle or slaves – this money was only used for special purposes, and brass rods could not be exchanged for food or other subsistence (Haviland).

* Informal economy: production of marketable commodities that for various reasons escape enumeration, regulation, or other public monitoring. Example – “Off-the-books” or “under-the-table” activities

o In many places the informal economy is as important or more than the formal economy

Globalization

(see Haviland p.187-189)

o The growing “interdependent system of commerce, communication, and power.” (Haviland 187)

o Creates competition between markets as many sectors compete for international business.

o Can be advantageous because it brings the world together in a sense of economic and cultural unity and speeds up the development of technology as many countries can contribute to the growing well of ideas and efforts. For example, the World Health Organization (WHO) consists of experts from around the world to solve medical problems and enlists the help of foreign doctors to control outbreaks to prevent epidemics.

o Also leads to a homogenization of cultures as the West imposes its patterns of consumerism on other countries. Not only does this destroy other cultures and demolish the relativistic approach to looking at culture, it also puts a strain on the earth’s resources as large populations seek to live the Western lifestyle with luxury cars, huge super markets and chain-owned stores that take away from local businesses. As well, many stronger nations use this as an opportunity to take advantage of slave labour in poorer countries.

Gender inequality in economics

o Women’s work, both paid and unpaid, has an impact on the economy but is not as recognized as the work done by men. Example – most economies value the work men do as workers (for instance, in a factory) or farmers and will direct resources towards the development of these careers. However, the work women to do raise children which provides future labourers is not generally recognized nor is their unpaid upkeep of a family farm regarded as a real career. A study in Kenya showed that giving women farmers the same support as men would increase their yields by 20%.

Trobriand Kula

o In Trobriand society kula describes the exchange of white Conus armshells (mwali) and red Chama-shell necklaces (bagi). This system is based on reciprocity and exists in their non-market economy which means that transactions occur on a very personal level with lots of effort put into pleasing one’s trade partners and attracting new partners.

o Kula relates to “reciprocity, redistribution and market” as the exchange of kula is reciprocal and circular and also relates to “emotions and affect” because kula players develop friendship ties with their partners and need to maintain these bonds. Kula also divides people into kula paths and partners relating to “groups and organizations.”

Terms to know:

o Kula path (keda): A route or circuit that spans many islands and links kula partners. This path determines how kula items will travel; however, a player on one path can divert an item to a different path thus becoming a member on two kula paths. The strength of a kula path depends on the fame of the players, the number of valuable shells in the path, and the speed at which shells circulate. Note: shells must constantly be circulating in order to prove that the path is dynamic and to keep the kula players busy; however, the most valuable shells move very slowly along a path which is why smaller shells must be kept circulating more quickly to keep the path active.

o Mwali: White conus armshells traded along a kula path in the counter clockwise direction. They are of equal value to bagi.

o Bagi: Finely chiseled red Chama-shell necklaces traded clockwise along a kula path.

o Butura: A kula player’s fame that is created through the circulation of his name according to the largest and most valued shells he has obtained. (thems of: honour and shame, and status role and prestige)

o Kitomu: A very large and valuable shell that can be used to make payments for goods (stone axe blades, yams) or services (hiring someone to build a canoe). These shells can also be circulated along a kula path. This can bring lots of fame but it can be very dangerous because the owner must seek out the best path that will get him the most fame and the most shells in return.

o Vaga: Shells sent to the owner of a kitomu that tell him that he can start other paths while he waits for sender of vaga to find a match for his kitomu.

o Basi: Shells sent to the owner of a kitomu that tell him that they are still searching for a large enough match for his kitomu.

o Kunivilevila: Once the kitomu has circulated and returned to its owner the owner’s partner will send this shell to entice the owner to keep his kitomu on their kula path. This also signifies that the debt of kitomu has been repaid.

o Katumukolava: The “profit” a kitomu owner receives in the form of the kunivilevila shell. Kitomu + Kunivilevila = Profit

Kula and reciprocity

Kula ring is a system of noncompetitive, ceremonial exchange that helps to establish and reinforce alliances and trading relationships. In the Kula ring only two things are exchanged. Bagi (also referred to as Soulava), the red shelled necklace seen in the picture to the right, are traded in a clockwise direction while mwali, the white shell arm band also seen in the picture, are traded counter-clockwise. This is balanced reciprocity because if you get a mwali from someone, you are expected to give a bagi in return and vice versa. This system is somewhat unique however, in that it doesn’t necessarily happen between family members. This ceremonial exchange is actually how the close relationships are developed for the trade of non-ceremonial goods. The system of trade of non-ceremonial goods is called gimwali and is essential for getting the resources needed for survival since no one island produces all the resources necessary.

Kula and redistribution

Trobriand chiefs receive a surplus of wealth from the yams gardens from the brothers of their numerous wives. During the harvest season, the chiefs will share their wealth in the form of rewards for competitions. This allows him to give back to the villagers.

Kula and Market exchange

Trobriand skirts, bundles, and yams are used to supplement the exchange of shells in Kula, almost like “money,” to compensate for any difference.

What is Kula?

o Kula is the intricate system of exchange of of bagi and mwali and sometimes kitomu.

o Kula players have partners on different islands and approximately every six months they will meet with their partners to pass on the kula.

o Kula is the circulation of wealth but requires work to satisfy partners and keep your kula path strong and dynamic.

o Kula is as much an economic system as it is a personal one. The names of strong players circulate through kula paths and create fame and Trobrianders sometimes use spells and other magic to strengthen their paths (witchcraft, magic, sorcery, and divination)

Who can do kula?

o At first kula was reserved for people who already had significant amounts of power with their communities but it has since become a type of trade open to nearly anyone who wants to participate

o Although the Trobrianders also follow the global trend of not giving women equal recognition in the economy, some women participate in kula. However, this is a more recent development and there are far more men than women in kula.

o Sons can inherit kula paths from the father of uncles giving them the right to do kula exchanges with their father’s partners (transfer of rights and property); however, many partners will not trust a young, inexperienced boy with kula and may defer their kula to another path.

Kula Expeditions

o About every six months Trobiranders from one island will board large, decorated outrigger canoes and sail to another island to make exchanges with their kula partners. They will often sail through hard conditions which add to the importance and prestige of their voyage. When they meet their partners they exchange mwali and bagi and other goods as well to keep their partners happy with them to continue trade in the future. This bond between partners is very important in maintaining a kula path. The men who sail return with these goods and kula from their partners and will then be hosts when their partners from the next island come to pick up the kula from them.

o The introduction of technology has started to change these expeditions and motor boats are sometimes substituted for canoes.

o Kula expedition do not necessarily have to occur between islands; rather, with more common people participating in kula, kula partners can live on different parts of an island and the expeditions can be made on foot.

o Kitomu in kula

o When a Trobriander acquires a kitomu they can decide to put it on a kula path.

o Members of many paths will send the owner of kitomu shells (vaga) and presents to try to attract his kitomu so that they can be his partner and have fame by being associated with a valuable kitomu.

o The owner may send small necklaces to test the paths before moving his kitomu

o After conversations and small exchanges with interested partners the owner will consider the strength of the paths of his prospective partners and who he can trust to find an equal match for his kitomu.

o Once the owner decides on a partner he puts his kitomu into circulation with this partner.

o While the partner looks for a shell of equal value to the kitomu they send the owner basi to indicate that they are searching for a shell for him and to keep the path active.

o When the partner finds and appropriate match for the kitomu this shell is circulated to the owner.

o This new shell now becomes his new kitomu and can be circulated on another path.

o This circulation of kitomu strengthens the kula path and opens it up for regular kula exchange between these partners.

o To persuade the owner of a kitomu to keep it circulating on their kula path his partner sends him kunilevila which represents a gain, or profit, for the owner.

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