Essay about Reciprocity in Anthropology

2137 Words Nov 21st, 2012 9 Pages
The way every being experiences the world around us is mostly constructed by the culture we are exposed to and brought up in. The world makes sense to us because of the ways culture influences our perception. We experience the world around us in a time, space, and mentality that are built solely by culture. The Kaluli are a tribal clan from Highland New Guinea who experience their lives through reciprocity. The way the Kaluli form relationships amongst one another, communicate, and practice their everyday lives is based through gift-giving and reciprocity. The Kaluli are socially dependent beings who have constructed a social mechanism in which everyone participates in the art of reciprocity to maintain and build these social relations …show more content…
By compensating oneself through aggressive manners, the Kaluli are able to make sure that no one is pushed further than the other, and that at all times everything is equal. (Schieffelin, p.136) “Such interventions, which were quiet common, seem aimed more at allowing the interaction to conclude properly than with scolding or punishing the offender.” (Schieffelin, p.137) Thus, in the Gisaro ritual it is appropriate for a host to be angered by the performer and react in an aggressive manner. By performing the Gisaro, both the visitors and the hosts of the occasion share the exchange of emotion and ritual duties. Like the Gisaro, the Kaluli people partake in many other traditional ceremonies that show the reciprocity of food, labour, and duties. In marriage there is an abundance of gift-giving and labour sharing which involves both the groom and the bride’s family. When a bride is chosen, the groom must compensate the bride’s family with brides-wealth, and both sides begin to part-take in many ceremonies. (Schieffelin, p.26) One side will bring the other many fruits and meat, and then the other side will return the favour by doing the same, creating an on-going cycle of food-giving. (Schieffelin, pg. 26) Food is continuously exchanged and prepared by both in-laws because it is one of the best methods the Kaluli use to form and maintain social relations with their in-laws and family. “Food as gift or

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