Potlatching is the giving away of food and money at feasts in return for recognition of social status. Unlike most of the studies of potlatching written in the past few years, this book has drawn upon first-hand observation in the field, made possible by the lifting of the ban on the ritual in 1951. This book not only provides much greater detail on the exact sums contributed and received at potlatch feasts, but it also shows how the sums of money are linked to the positions of the participants in their society. What emerges is a system of claims to the use of resources and the conflicts which are generated by the shifting stengths of numbers of each group of claimants. The Natives' own view of the system is one of "breaking even" and the author has asked what ends this elaborate and time-consuming ritual serves. Recent theories are examined at length in the light of new data and another theory proposed: namely, that tthe potlatch fosters a more even and orderly distribution of peopel to resources. Ethnographic data from many other societies are discussed briefly to show the similar effectrs of many different kinds of social forms which, until recently, had been thought to play no particular role in the adaptation of peoples to their environment.
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Book Description Holt, Rinehart and Winston of, 1973. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # P110039280721