Description - Inalienable Possessions by Annette B. Weiner
This book tests anthropology's traditional assumptions about kinship, economics, power and gender in a challenge to accepted theories of reciprocity and marriage exchange. Focusing on Oceania societies from Polynesia to Papua New Guinea and including Australian Aborigine groups, the author investigates the category of possessions that must not be given or, if they are circulated, must return finally to the giver. Reciprocity, she says, is only the superficial aspect of exchange, which overlays much more politically powerful strategies of "keeping-while-giving". The idea of keeping-while-giving places women at the heart of the political process, however much that process may vary in different societies, for women possess a wealth of their own that gives them power. Power is intimately involved in cultural reproduction and the author describes the location of power in each society, showing how the degree of control coincides with women's rank and the development of hierarchy in the community. Other inalienable possessions, whether material objects, landed property, ancestral myths, or sacred knowledge, bestow social identity and rank as well.
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(229mm x 156mm x 16mm)
University of California Press
Publisher: University of California Press
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Author Biography - Annette B. Weiner
Annette B. Weiner is Kriser Distinguished Professor of Anthropology and Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Science at New York University. She currently serves as President of the American Anthropological Association.