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The Rope of Moka

Big-men and Ceremonial Exchange in Mount Hagen New Guinea

The Rope of Moka by Andrew Strathern
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In the Mount Hagen area of central New Guinea, warfare has been replaced since the arrival of the Europeans by a vigorous development of moka, a competitive ceremonial exchange of wealth objects. The exchanges of pigs, shells and other valuables are interpreted as acting as a bond between groups, and as a means whereby individuals, notably the big-men, can maximize their status. Professor Strathern analyses the ways in which competition between big-men actually takes place, and the effects of this competition on the overall political system.
Cambridge University Press; September 1975
282 pages; ISBN 9780511864186
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Title: The Rope of Moka
Author: Andrew Strathern
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