This study draws on the author's long standing interest in the reification of social relations. Its rationale lies in the question about property, ownership and knowledge which these essays bring together. If the world is shrinking in terms of resources and access to them, it is expanding in terms of new candidates for ownership. The essays touch both on the claims people make through relations with other imagined as relations of body substances, and on the increasing visibility of conceptual or intellectual work as property. Whether one lives in Papua New Guinea or Britain, cultural categories are being dissolved and reformed at a tempo that calls for reflection - and for the kind of lateral reflection afforded by ethnographic insight.
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