A Dispersed Society: Place Ownership and the Crossing of Spatial Margins

Rupert Stasch

in Society of Others

Published by University of California Press

Published in print June 2009 | ISBN: 9780520256859
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520943322 | DOI:
A Dispersed Society: Place Ownership and the Crossing of Spatial Margins

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This chapter investigates the Korowai social landscape as a field of otherness. It discusses landownership as a major medium through which Korowai live out a basic social problematic of autonomy, separation, and boundary-traversing relatedness. The Korowai landownership world is a world of connections that people make across boundaries of strangeness, drawing the familiar and strange together. Korowai understandings emphasize that people demonstrate ownership of land through action on it and through mixing their labor with it. Interaction between hosts and guests illustrates how Korowai systematically join together qualities of otherness and close involvement as the positive substance of social bonds. It shows that the relations between Korowai and other Korowai take place on “beaches” in Greg Dening's sense. In forest space alone, Korowai society is located in people's motions across a heterogeneous landscape and their disparities of position on that landscape.

Keywords: Korowai social landscape; otherness; landownership; autonomy; separation; social bonds; hosts; guests

Chapter.  19151 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Anthropology

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