Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
Dure, the ritual slaughter of pigs by an unmarried female, is part of a cycle of ceremonial events performed on the island of Aoba in the northern New Hebrides. Using data collected on Aoba in 1970-71, an examination of production, distribution, and exchange demonstrates that dure provides a regular border crossing between two otherwise autonomous spheres of ceremonial exchange. Conversions between mats and pigs occur only in the asymmetrically balanced exchanges of the dure cycle.
Analysis of dure suggests several conclusions of general applicability to the concept of spheres of exchange in economic anthropology. Indigenous ratios of equivalence concerning the worth of media of exchange in different spheres are shown to be independent of the criterion of exchangeability. The thesis provides ethnographic evidence to indicate that spheres of exchange need not represent a hierarchy of value. Instead of expressing pririciples of moral ranking, barriers ta conversion on Aoba serve to keep separate goods that are viewed as equally valuable. Finally, the thesis describes a mechanism that has not been documented previously in the literature on spheres of exchange: the dure cycle effects an integration of different transactional circuits that does not le ad to an amalgamation of spheres of exchange.
Rodman, Margaret, "Spheres of Exchange in a Northern New Hebridean Society" (1976). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 5307.
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