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Give and take : exchange in Wola society

CollectionsANU Press (1965- Present)
Title: Give and take : exchange in Wola society
Author(s): Sillitoe, Paul
Date published: 1978
Publisher: Canberra, ACT : Australian National University Press
The Wola people of the Highlands of Papua New Guinea place unusual emphasis on the sovereignty of the individual. Their society places few constraints on its members; they have no government, no authoritative leaders, no formal judicial system. If to paraphrase Rousseau, man is born free but is everywhere in chains, Wola man is very lightly shackled. Order in Wola Society is based on the exchange of wealth, the effect of an elaborate exchange system that allows the handing round of wealth - pearl shells, pigs and other, minor items. Exchange among the Wola is an important social principle. It requires co-operation and constrains the fractious individual to maintain an ordered society. This book presents a vigorous, new analysis of a Highlands people that is a substantial contribution both to the ethnography of the New Guinea Highlands and to anthropological theory.


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