Mills 169 (A26)
Monday, August 8, 2016
Available at http://anthro.rschram.org/1002/3.1
This holistic model of a social system is also a very useful lens for understanding contemporary societies. This week, I'd like to develop these three ideas:
For Mauss, the Maori word hau means the “spirit of the thing given.” When someone gives a gift, they give part of themselves. “The hau wishes to return to its birthplace” (Mauss 2000 : 12).
What if we lived in a world in which everything was a gift, and everything possessed a hau?
Many societies organize objects into distinct, ranked spheres of exchange
Some things, like land, cannot be exchanged for anything, but are inherited.
We can take the idea of spheres of exchange and apply it to the different ways people exchange:
Piot describes the relationship among ikpanture (friends).
We the people of Salamaua would like to put down the prices of our things in this newspaper so that all of you will see them. We would like this message to all of you people in villages in the area of Markham River and Finschhafen.
Now you all see the prices for all these things and then you all will get it right. So, prices for them are like this: If you see a pot for 4/-, then you pay with (givim long) two big pandanus of 4/-. If a pot for 2/-, then you pay with (givim long) a pandanus of 2/-. The reason is you all always just bring pandanus and get pots. So, you all don’t know the price (pei) of these things. And so, we put them for the pots so that you all can see them.
If a pot is 5/-, or L1, then you must pay (pei) directly with money. It is not good that you should give pandanus for 5/- and L1 and get a pot. You know that the work of a pot is not like the work of pandanus - Pots are harder work than pandanus, so you must pay directly for big pots with real money.
The work of pots is like this:- The very first thing, they must dig the ground and they get really deep. After that, they bring it to the village and the work of women now begins. The women bake the earth in a really big fire - They bake this earth so that it becomes really strong. This work isn’t easy. It’s really hard work. Many days pass, and then the pot is now finished and a man can cook food in it.
We say this because you all have put down many things of yours - So we see this and so we Salamaua people, we support you all. Our message is finished. We all the people of Salamaua.
“People of Salamaua.” 1948. “Pei bilong sosopen.” Lae Garamut (28 August) 2(23): 4.
Bohannan, Paul. 1955. “Some Principles of Exchange and Investment among the Tiv.” American Anthropologist, New Series, 57 (1): 60–70.
Mauss, Marcel. 2000 . The Gift: The Form and Reason for Exchange in Archaic Societies. Translated by W. D. Halls. New York: W. W. Norton & Company.