2. According to Malinowski, “A Kula community consists of a village or a number of villages, who go out together on big oversea^ expeditions, and who act as a body in the Kula transactions, perform their magic in common, have common leaders, and have the same outer and inner social sphere, within which they exchange their valuables.” The Kula community consists of the following: 1. It involves a complex system of visits and exchanges and was first described in the west by anthropologist Brownislaw Malinowski in 1922. Its main aim is to exchange articles which are of no practical use. Jonathan Parry has demonstrated that Mauss was actually arguing that the concept of a "pure gift" given altruistically only emerges in societies with a well-developed market ideology such as the West and India.. It is a means of establishing inter-tribal relationships on a large scale. Similarly, the saying around Papua is: "once in the Kula, always in the Kula.". Man (new series) 15: 278. indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest, "Kula; the Circulating Exchange of Valuables in the Archipelagoes of Eastern New Guinea", Domesticated plants and animals of Austronesia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Kula_ring&oldid=958667727, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 25 May 2020, at 02:49. His partner, in his turn, gives him the opposite commodity in exchange. Kula partnership between two men is a permanent and life long affair. The Kula ring is a ceremony that revolves around the middle of the Pacific, between 18 communities that live in the Massim archipelago. More and more generosity is expected from the members comparable to their high status. Primary Natural Kula. The person owning a valuable as kitoum has full rights of ownership over it: he can keep it, sell it or even destroy it. The Kula Ring was a closed trading system in which only established senior male trading partners from each island could participate. ", The Kula ring is a classic example of Marcel Mauss' distinction between gift and commodity exchange. Mauss, in contrast, emphasized that the gifts were not between individuals, but between representatives of larger collectivities. 6. Where Kula is practised, it governs all the other allied activities. The secondary trade includes the following activities: 1. PreserveArticles.com is an online article publishing site that helps you to submit your knowledge so that it may be preserved for eternity. The above mentioned definition of the Kula has been exemplified by an analysis of characteristics of the Kula ring. amongst the Muyuw all Kula objects are someone's kitoum, meaning they are owned by that person (or by a group). It includes almost the total social life. No one has an integral picture of Kula in his mind. He is also against the diametrically opposed idea of the acquisitive and ruthlessly tenacious native. amongst the Muyuw three men account for over 50 percent of Kula valuables. It is hence that Malinowski has called it, “A form of trade”. These gifts were, he argued, a "total prestation" (see Law of obligations) and not a gift in our sense of the word. Magic is performed over a canoe to make it lucky in the Kula. 2. Luckily, when it comes to the rules of the ring, the hands are largely considered equal, meaning a ring doesn’t change intent based on which hand it is on. Long, dangerous sea voyages were undertaken for the purpose of this trade. " Weiner contrasts "moveable goods" which can be exchanged with "immoveable goods" that serve to draw the gifts back (in the Trobriand case, male Kula gifts with women's landed property). In other words, reciprocity is an implicit part of gifting; there is no such thing as the "free gift" given without expectation. Those who do not exchange fast are criticised as miserly. On every island and in every village, a more or less limited number of men take part in the Kula. A man who is in the Kula never keeps any article for longer than a year or two. Not all societies, however, have these kinds of goods, which depend upon the existence of particular kinds of kinship groups. This gift has to be repaid by an equivalent counter gift after a lapse of time which may be from few hours to as much as a year. Before pointing out the essentials of Kula, Malinowski starts with a temporary definition of this institution. In his book Argonauts of the Western Pacific, Bronislaw Malinowski, has given “An Account of Native Enterprise and Adventure in the Archipclagoes of Melanesian New Guinea.” As he has himself pointed out, he is mainly concerned with the economic activity of theTrobriand Islanders. There, only chiefs were allowed to engage in Kula exchange. He has to find out what is essential and what is accidental. They were not simple, alienable commodities to be bought and sold, but, like the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom, embodied the reputation, history and sense of identity of a "corporate kin group," such as a line of kings. Total prestations are given, he argues, to preserve landed estates identified with particular kin groups and maintain their place in a ranked society..  Participants travel at times hundreds of miles by canoe in order to exchange Kula valuables which consist of red shell-disc necklaces (veigun or soulava) that are traded to the north (circling the ring in clockwise direction) and white shell armbands (mwali) that are traded in the southern direction (circling counterclockwise). According to Malinowski, “Every movement of the Kula articles, every detail of the transactions is fixed and regulated by a set of traditional rules and conventions, and some acts of the Kula are accompanied by an elaborate magical ritual and public ceremonies.” The characteristics of the Kula are as follows: 1. Another system of magical rites is performed in order to avert the dangers of sailing. There is a permanent trickling of articles within the village and from one village to another. Meaning of Kula: 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.
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