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Book Cover
Book
Author Weiner, Annette B., 1933-

Title Inalienable possessions : the paradox of keeping-while-giving / Annette B. Weiner
Published Berkeley : University of California Press, [1992]
©1992

Copies

Location Call no. Vol. Availability
 W'PONDS  305.420995 Wei/Ipt  AVAILABLE
Description xiii, 232 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Contents Inalienable possessions : the forgotten dimension -- Reconfiguring exchange theory : the Maori Hau -- The sibling incest taboo : Polynesian cloth and reproduction -- The defeat of hierarchy : cosmological authentication in Australia and New Guinea bones and stones -- Kula : the paradox of keeping-while-giving
Summary This book tests anthropology's traditional assumptions about kinship, economics, power, and gender in an exciting challenge to accepted theories of reciprocity and marriage exchange. Focusing on Oceania societies from Polynesia to Papua New Guinea and including Australian Aborigine groups, Annette Weiner 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 Weiner describes the location of power in each society, showing how the degree of control over the production and distribution of cloth wealth 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. Calling attention to their presence in Western history, Weiner points out that her formulations are not limited to Oceania. The paradox of keeping-while-giving is a concept certain to influence future developments in ethnography and the theoretical study of gender and exchange
Analysis Feminist anthropology
Feminist anthropology
Bibliography Includes bibliographical references (pages 197-217) and index
Subject Ceremonial exchange -- Oceania.
Economic anthropology -- Oceania -- Methodology.
Feminist anthropology -- Oceania.
Incest -- Oceania.
Women -- Oceania -- Economic conditions.
Women -- Oceania -- Social conditions.
Oceania -- Social life and customs.
LC no. 91043580
ISBN 0520076036 (alk. paper)
0520076044 (paperback: alk. paper)