Individually, it involves creating a clear path between oneself and one's environment. It could be a surplus of pigs and yams in the Trobriand Islands or perhaps fine pottery made in the Amphletts. "When attention is directed onto an object, it remains in the object. Kula, also known as the Kula exchange or Kula ring, is a ceremonial exchange system conducted in the Milne Bay Province of Papua New Guinea. In Dobu all men can participate whereas on the Trobriand Islands the exchange is monopolized by the chiefs. Anthropologist Bronisław Malinowski famously detailed these two types of exchange in Trobriand society. Part 1: Trobriand Islanders. The study of this practice has helped to show that many indigenous peoples have traditions that serve many purposes beyond basic survival functions, enabling sometimes distant social groups to have harmonious relationships that benefit all. One example would be a banker who promises to invest your money, but steals it instead. “The Trobrianders of Papua New Guinea.” In Case Studies in Cultural Anthropology, xx, 184. The Kula exchange system can be viewed as reinforcing status and authority distinctions since the hereditary chiefs own the most important shell valuables and assume the responsibility for organizing and directing the ocean voyages. Argonauts of the Western Pacific. According to the Muyuw, a good Kula relationship should be "like a marriage." Currently, there is much less ceremony and care in the preparation and execution of the events of the Kula exchange. Balanced reciprocity obligates the recipient to return, within a specific time limit, items understood to be of equal value. In this activity, you will compare and contrast two Trobriand practices of reciprocity. On these annual voyages, when a man presents his partner with a valuable, it must be reciprocated with a gift of equivalent or greater value before too much time passes. Only one woman in each village knew where he was, and she would feed and take care of him. Kula is the simple human experience of growth and growing as an individual and as a community engaged in giving and receiving. It begins in the garden, harvesting surplus yams particularly in anticipation of the trading to come. The men who arrive to receive Kula valuables are seen as aggressive visitors by the men in the host village whose turn it is to give. All of these elements serve to link islanders and the Kula partners. However, strong social obligations and the cultural value system, in which liberality is exalted as highest virtue, while meanness is condemned as shameful, create powerful pressures to "play by the rules." Damon noted that large amounts of Kula valuables are handled by a relatively small number of people (Damon, 1980). The Kula is a form of exchange, of extensive, intertribal character; it is carried on by communities inhabiting a wide ring of islands, which form a closed circuit. eval(ez_write_tag([[336,280],'newworldencyclopedia_org-box-4','ezslot_1',170,'0','0'])); The Kula ring spans at least 18 island communities of the Massim archipelago, including the Trobriand Islands and involves thousands of individuals. They are met with ceremonial hostility that the visitors must charm away, often by giving lime spatulas and betelnuts that carry magical spells to induce their hosts to return good pieces. A more innocuous example might be a student helping their teacher in the classroom in the hope of receiving a better grade. It takes two to ten years for a shell to make the circuit. Sahlins refers to this as the “unsociable extreme”, because it is a type of exchange mostly conducted between strangers rather than friends or kin. Many young men state that they would rather be successful in Kula than in business, but as both come together it is rather a choice of order than exclusion. For example, amongst the Muyuw, three men account for over 50 percent of Kula valuables, and the ten most influential men control about 90 percent of all and almost 100 percent of the most precious Kula objects. The word Kula is derived from bita kuli, a verb, meaning both “to form in the likeness or image of another” and “to be formed as a likeness or image of the other.” This is the "reciprocity" that Malinowski wrote about. London: Routledge. It has been suggested that the trade is one way to avoid inbreeding, as many romances may form with far away partners during the trading times. It is expected that the exchange will balance itself over time.
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