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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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Relations which Separate

Relations which Separate

(p.191) 8 Relations which Separate
The Gender of the Gift

Marilyn Strathern

University of California Press

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

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