Relations which Separate

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:
Relations which Separate

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This chapter investigates the replication of relations through the kinds of mediated exchange familiar in the anthropological literature, and the replication of relations made visible through unmediated growth. It is suggested that exchange takes either a mediated or unmediated form: it is known through its appearance as one or the other type. The context of kula exchange is discussed. It is shown that when kitoum enter the kula system they do so as signs of male work alone. The metonymic gift mediates in a relationship in which the partners retain their distinct identities; it also establishes a dependency relation that identifies the partners, in an unmediated way, as versions of one another, augmenting one another's prestige. The unmediated exchange which appears, like mediated exchange, in the replication of entities is described. The relations that separate people in terms of gender give the object of their interaction its reified character.

Keywords: relations; mediated exchange; unmediated exchange; separate; gender; kula; kitoum

Chapter.  14396 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Anthropology

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