Big Men and Great Men
Maurice Godelier, Marilyn Strathern
Cambridge University Press, 1991 - Big man (Melanesia). - 328 pages
4e de couverture: The societies of Melanesia have been a constant stimulus to anthropological theory. In this collection of essays, anthropologists who have worked in all parts of the Melanesian region of the Pacific bring their expertise to bear on a single theoretical issue. This is a hypothesis formulated by Maurice Godelier concerning the relationship between power, kinship and wealth. Although tightly focused on Godelier's work, the book opens up a major enquiry into the constitution of society in a part of the world where men of prominence come to personify the nature of power. 'Big men', entrepreneurs of exchanges, and 'great men', who flourish in societies characterised by restricted exchanges and ritual complexity, appear to belong to quite different systems. This book considers how substantial the difference between them really is. There are many accounts of political systems in Melanesia, but nothing quite like the comparative synthesis offered here. This exercise also raises more general issues concerning the unity of Melanesia, and about the potential of the comparative method in anthropology.
What people are saying - Write a review
We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.
a triangulation of the Massim
12 other sections not shown
Other editions - View all
Big Men and Great Men: Personifications of Power in Melanesia
Maurice Godelier,Marilyn Strathern
No preview available - 1991
appear Baruya become big men big-man big-men societies body boys bride bridewealth brother called ceremonial chapter chief child clan close collective comparative compensation competitive contrast create cult cultural death direct dominant Duna effect equivalence example exchange exist fact father feasting female figure flute functions garden gender gifts give Godelier Godelier's great-men groups Guinea Hagen hand head Highlands important individual initiation interest killed kind kinship leaders lineage live logics male marriage marry means Mekeo Melanesian men's Mendi moieties mother myth nature North objects organisation particular payments peace Pentecost persons pigs play political position possible practices present prestations principle production question rank region relations relationship relative reproduction ritual role seems seen sister social societies Strathern structure substitution suggest symbolic transformation tribe turn village warriors wealth woman women