Social organization of space Essay

I will deal with the topic of how space is regarded differently in the ethnographies I’ve studied. I will treat this phenomena as it occurs in Turnbull’s representation of Mbuti society;the guaranies eesays on their historical development; the Trobriand ethnography by Annete Weiner and Archetti’s representation of the ecuatorian peasant society. When talking about Turnbull’s view of the Mbuti society one must first define two basic concepts called Ekimi and Akami. Turnbull says the Mbuti used the word Akami, meaning noise”, to mean not only noise but also conflict, and explains that fighting against a tightly cooperative camp can spoil a hunt just as effectively as to much noise as the wrong moment.

They are also said to consider killing the main source of Akami and this is why adults, the hunters in this society, are considered contaminated and cannot have the power of justice. Silence or Ekimi, is the preferred quality of “peace”. Needless to say is that the Mbuti society is based on hunting and gathering. In Mbuti’s analysis by Turnbull, the forest itself was ivided into hunting territorries, which face a central territory called the “no man’s land”, each occupied by a band of Mbuti that was attached to the village at the periphery. All hunting territories extended inwards, away from the village. Mbuti who are hunting within any one territory can have access to the Mbuti within any other territory.

This mobility seems to be of great importance to the Mbuti, as much in their economic life as in their domestic and political life. The Mbuti conception of the ” family space” unites in terms of address all those who hunt ogether and live in the same camp at any one time. Within such camps, which change in composition as they change location monthly, there are distinct lines of fission and fussion that can be seen by the way the endus (homes of nuclear families) are clustered, and by their orientation to the central hearths. The movements of fission and fussion are used to evade conflict and achieve EKIMI. In Mbuti society children play at the “bopis” (playgrounds) until they reach their youth. It is their duty to perform the ritual of lighting the hunting fire, as they are e carriers of EKIMI, to purify hunters (Adults) after having performed the sacriledge of killing, main source of AKAMI. In their youth they have the power of controlling justice and resolving conflict.

Women gather different plants, roots and help the men with the hunt. In Annette Weiner ethnography on the Trobrianders of New Guinea, she first says it is a matrilineal society, which is to say a society in which a common female ancestor through women. Each matrilineage has certain power, which seems to be based on the belief they are iblings of the original trobrianders. the ones who say to be descendants of the founders are the ones to wear decorations. The way land is distributed is also based on the reputation of individuals working in each separate matrilineage. This society lives in villages. Even ranked members or commoner lineages heve the same organization of hamlets within each village.

From two to eight hamlets, although these may vary in size, constitute a village, and each hamlet is composed of approximately six to twenty households. In each hamlet one man controls all the atrilineal land and other property originally established by his lineage ancestors. A chief may be formed by someone who works hard since he is given his own land; or one who inherits these right from an ancestor. But it is necessary to work a lot and have spiritual power to succeed as chief. Tabalu, for example is the highest chief matrilineage in the Trobriand islands. There are also other ways to get land which is kula, an overseas exchange network that includes many islands in the Massim, where armshells (mwali) and necklaces (bagi) are exchanged for ach other through complex sets of transactions.

The attainment of Kula shells provides the means to realize fame, but such fame must still be attached to a more elementary kind of inmortality; that of the lineage. In Archetti’s ethnography on Guinea- Pig consumption in ecuatorean peasant society he states the guinea pig belongs, in a clear and indisputable way, to the world of female domestic practices. Then he says that the guinea pig suggests the domestic household, the kitchen, protection against the outside-symbolic fields that refer to certain aspects of female identity.

The guinea pig is converted into food, dishes, recipes, tastes, and smells, and it is women who carry out this process of transformation. Archetti Had been employed by the Ecuatorean Government to study why their attempts to establish a capitalist market on guinea pig consumption had mostly failed. He thought to have found a possible explanation; what the government had tried to do was to not only change guinea pigs, but their social foundations in peasant society and the peasant social organization of space concerning the guinea pigs only succeding in small focuses f population.

Space in our society is based on who gets the most profit out of the quantity of space given. The more profit you get; the more space you buy and the most powerful you are. The only space which do not charge a tax for stepping on it are pavement rivers called streets, or parks which keep dissapearing as we speak. Please, do not forget thet detruction that capitalism creates, because if our culture is destructive; the space sorrounding us will be destructed; because we know that all space is cultural; once it is occupated by humans.