Time as Value

Janet Hoskins

in The Play of Time

Published by University of California Press

Published in print January 1994 | ISBN: 9780520080034
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520919136 | DOI:
Time as Value

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The visitor to any of the great feasting houses in Kodi is immediately confronted with buffalo horns on display. Each sacrificial event is marked by preserving a remnant of the animal killed. The buffalo horns and pig's tusks are hung in the same part of the house where human scalps were once displayed, the skulls having been hung to dry on the skull tree. The Kodinese give one clues to this process when they say that “the name of a man rides on the horns of his buffalo” or “his reputation is tied to the horn span.” Although they recognize the connection between a man's biography and his store of horns, they cannot articulate the full system of rules and strategies that lead them to make these statements. This system emerges only in contrast to the very different assumptions that underlie the market economy, cash transactions, and standards of value, which tie time to money and not to value. The logic of “horn counting” must be explained in greater detail, for it represents a relatively precise measurement, not only of the age of the animal, but also of its value in terms of an investment in time.

Keywords: Kodi; buffalo; horns; Kodinese; market economy; cash transactions; value; money; investment; time

Chapter.  8299 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Anthropology

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