Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Inalienable PossessionsThe Paradox of Keeping-While Giving$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Annette Weiner

Print publication date: 1992

Print ISBN-13: 9780520076037

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520076037.001.0001

Show Summary Details

Reconfiguring Exchange Theory: The Maori Hau

Reconfiguring Exchange Theory: The Maori Hau

(p.44) Chapter 2 Reconfiguring Exchange Theory: The Maori Hau
Inalienable Possessions

Annette B. Weiner

University of California Press

This chapter takes Marcel Mauss's The Gift and reanalyzes the most controversial theoretical text on “primitive” exchange and the Maori ethnography that provided Mauss with the answer to the problem of why a gift given elicits a return. Although Lévi-Strauss believes that Mauss's ethnographic entanglement in the Maori point of view limited his ability to develop a structural model of exchange, it is precisely the dense Maori ethnographic descriptions which reveal the priority that the Maori themselves accord inalienable possessions. Women's production of cloth, some of which becomes inalienable because it is imbued with mana, the procreative power that women acquire, is central to these priorities. The guardianship of inalienable possessions such as these transforms difference into rank.

Keywords:   Marcel Mauss, primitive exchange, Maori ethnography, gift

California Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.