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Art-like Wealth: the Foundation of Paiwan Hierarchy

HSIAO, HSIANG-WEI (2019) Art-like Wealth: the Foundation of Paiwan Hierarchy. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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Author-imposed embargo until 24 June 2021.

Abstract

In examining the Paiwan, an indigenous group in Taiwan, this thesis illustrates how wealth affects social hierarchy amongst people in house societies. Paiwan wealth is examined through the idea of abduction of agency, as suggested by Gell (1998), to reveal how people associate with past interactions in perceiving both present and future social relations. Investigating the notion of Paiwan wealth provides a means by which Lévi-Strauss’ idea of the ‘house society’ is reconsidered. In possessing wealth, as Lévi-Strauss (1982:194) emphasises, the house is “a corporate body holding an estate made up of both material and immaterial wealth” for organising social groups. In addition to providing an argument for how people are grouped in and by the house itself, this thesis focuses on the processes that form the house as an agent in itself. Moreover, studying Paiwan wealth gives further insights into how features of Dumontian hierarchy (Dumont 1980) and precedence (Fox 1994, 2004) can co-exist in terms of employing multiple values to achieve supreme value of owning wealth.
In mapping out the aim of this thesis, discussion begins from how the fieldwork process leads to certain empirical elucidation. By re-examining pervious research about the Paiwan, the significance of processes of interactions from past to present is explored. The social interaction not only enables the position of a house to be established and further gives Christian churches hierarchical position to be a house in the society. By participating in social interaction, Paiwan wealth shows its quality of index in Gell’s (1998) argument of art. The association between hierarchy, house and wealth is, therefore, can be exemplified by looking into the Paiwan marriage. Under these circumstances, the study of Paiwan society offers a channel to encompass different perspectives of anthropology to approach indigenous context.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Paiwan, Hierarchy, Precedence, House society, art
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Anthropology, Department of
Thesis Date:2019
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:24 Jun 2019 11:09

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