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|Title: ||" ... and then we killed" : an attempt to understand the fighting history of the Upper Kaironk Valley Kalam from 1914-1962.|
|Authors: ||Riebe, Inge|
|Keywords: ||Kalam (Papua New Guinea people)|
|Issue Date: ||1974|
|Abstract: ||The aims of this thesis are as follows:
1. To provide extensive ethnographic data in the form of detailed case histories about fighting and killing among Kalam;
2. To demonstrate that detailed study of processes is the best basis for generalizations as to the nature of any aspect of a society;
3. To present enough background information about Kalam society to enable a hypothesis about the importance of fighting in Kalam society to be formulated;
4. To establish that an understanding of the fighting process can best be understood in terms of the changes Kalam society has undergone in the last 100-150 years.
The field work that forms the basis of this study took place between December, 1965 and June, 1972, with twenty-one months spent in the field. Field work consisted of general participant observation, observation and recording of moots and smaller meetings, one to one and small group interviews including with all the still living key players in the case histories.
The thesis falls into three parts:
• Interpretations of key processes in Kalam society relevant to the topic of fighting;
• Four detailed case histories;
• The development of an hypothesis about the nature of Kalam fighting and killing based primarily on the statements made by Kalam themselves.
The thesis demonstrates that amongst the Kalam there was traditionally no intentional killing and very little injury, outside of the two forms of fighting /ny Iwk ay naqygpay/ 'ambush killing' and /mseq pen pen naqygpay/ an 'open fight’. Both these forms of killing did not take place without the availability of shell wealth to pay the avengers. Killing was a highly politicised endeavor amongst the Kalam. Victims were most usually people who are active in political competition. The highest reputations were made by men successfully organising a killing and payment. The three men in the Upper Kaironk valley, who enjoyed a reputation as important men over a large part of the valley were each the dominant player in a killing sequence.
An important aspect of the thesis is concerned with historical changes.
Fighting played a very important part in population mobility. Most instances of changes of residence I recorded were related, at least in part, either to a killing, fighting, or conflict that people feared would accelerate into a killing. Pacification is perhaps the strongest single factor that has anchored much of the Kalam population: an anchoring that confronted them with a growing ecological problem.
Increasing population density, the introduction of domesticated pigs, the adoption of ‘witchcraft’ [koyb] as an explanations of death, and an increase in, or possibly the beginning, of open fighting are interlinked factors in substantive historical changes. Increased population density preceded European arrival. According to Kalam accounts there was a gradual increase in the population of the Upper Kaironk valley from the mid 18th century on, with accelerated increase in the early and mid 19th century. Domesticated pigs were not present in the valley in any number until the second half of the 19th century but increased rapidly from then. The move from wild animals to domesticated pigs as the core of the /smy/ feast, increased forest cutting and sweet potato planting and opened the way to higher population densities.
From a large body of self-consistent oral evidence it seems that deaths in the Upper Kaironk Valley began to be attributed to witchcraft (koyb) at the end of the nineteenth century. The Kalam developed a concept of witchcraft as subsumed under social order - a somewhat paradoxical picture of rational biddable witches. The witchcraft explanation for death allowed conflicts between people to be aggravated into a matter for killing without an earlier history of violence between them. Witchcraft became a link to enable the breaking of relationships that had a claim upon one, most frequently cross-cousins, in the context of increased density of population.
The interlinked processes of change in the hunting-gathering:horticulture balance, increased population density, and changes in mobility, underpin the changing forms of the institution of killing. Kalam killings have the effect of structuring residence and association networks that individuals are enmeshed in. Under the pressure of increased population density, the killings based on material provocation, are augmented by killing based on the witchcraft interpretation of deaths. These changes became more marked with pacification and other post colonial limits to mobility, these are the subject of subsequent work.|
|Type of Work: ||Thesis|
|Appears in Collections:||Sydney Digital Theses (Open Access)|
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|b17345078_v1_RiebeInge_1974.pdf||Thesis v.1||14.67 MB||Adobe PDF|
|b17345078_v2_RiebeInge_1974.pdf||Thesis v.2||11.73 MB||Adobe PDF|
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