Chapter

Spirits of the forest, the wind, and new wealth: defining some of the possibilities, and limits, of Kamula possession

Michael Wood

in Possession and Ownership

Published in print December 2012 | ISBN: 9780199660223
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191745096 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199660223.003.0012

Series: Explorations in Linguistic Typology

Spirits of the forest, the wind, and new wealth: defining some of the possibilities, and limits, of Kamula possession

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This chapter focuses on the ways in which the Kamula of the Western Province in Papua New Guinea, treat the notions of possession and property in their discourse, with special attention to possession of newly introduced goods, including gas, oil, and carbon. The author argues that spirits who can exert exclusive control and occupancy, in parts of the landscape, mediate Kamula understandings of possession and ownership of many valuables. The Kamulas' control of resources and land were often limited by bush spirits. This highlights the importance of the notion of exclusion as a key element of the Kamulas' understanding of property. However, spirits also facilitate Kamula claims to an interest in the new wealth. Consequently, Kamula property claims are crucially defined by exclusionary relations with powerful, often radically different, others.

Keywords: possession; ownership; property rights; new wealth; exclusion; Papuan languages; Kamula

Chapter.  5987 words. 

Subjects: Sociolinguistics

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