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The Gender of the GiftProblems with Women and Problems with Society in Melanesia$
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Marilyn Strathern

Print publication date: 1988

Print ISBN-13: 9780520064232

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520064232.001.0001

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Power: Claims and Counterclaims

Power: Claims and Counterclaims

Chapter:
(p.98) 5 Power: Claims and Counterclaims
Source:
The Gender of the Gift
Author(s):

Marilyn Strathern

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520064232.003.0005

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

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