Power: Claims and Counterclaims

Marilyn Strathern

in The Gender of the Gift

Published by University of California Press

Published in print September 1988 | ISBN: 9780520064232
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520910713 | DOI:
Power: Claims and Counterclaims

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This chapter is concerned to dismantle the concreteness of certain other anthropological metaphors that are so often ascribed to the minds of Melanesian participants. It introduces the argument that the powerful Western image of control depends on concepts of ownership and property. Examples are presented which show that rituals surround men's entry into a system of public grades, are performed at both girls' and boys' puberty ceremonies, and are given in the context of a male bachelor cult. For a Malo man acquiring the idiosyncratic behavior of another, value lies in the origin of that behavior in another. The donor does not lose what he gives away. In the instance of Gimi reproductive creativity, violent extraction is imagined as gain and loss. These Melanesian cases draw the impact which interaction has on the inner person.

Keywords: power; Malo man; Melanesian participants; Gimi; reproductive creativity; puberty; public grades; male bachelor cult

Chapter.  14834 words. 

Subjects: Anthropology

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