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‘Betek, Tali ngan Atap’
‘Knots, String and Blades’: Production and Use of Organic Utility Objects by the Orang Ulu of Sarawak

DAVY BALL, MARIEANNE (2009) ‘Betek, Tali ngan Atap’
‘Knots, String and Blades’: Production and Use of Organic Utility Objects by the Orang Ulu of Sarawak.
Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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The Orang Ulu people of the East Malaysian State of Sarawak comprise many indigenous groups. They live predominantly in the north-east of the State in highland rainforest areas and are both swidden farmers and hunter-gatherers.
Many of the utility objects they use are manufactured locally from forest resources. As communications in the area have improved, new materials and technology have arrived and are influencing their traditional production.
This thesis documents the production of material culture by some of these
groups. Using a comparative approach, it examines the processes that feature in material preparation, the tools used, and the various styles of objects made and the designs chosen. During fieldwork the techniques used in the production of the documented objects were learnt by observer participation until they were fully understood and the fieldworker could replicate them. The study includes
many illustrations and explanations of designs and manufacturing techniques.
In addition the thesis discusses the changes that have occurred within these material culture assemblages. It considers these in relation to various issues,such as people’s identity concerns and the commodification of their local products. It relates the objects to their maker, user and usage, investigating labour co-ordination in the region and gender issues pertaining to them.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Orang Ulu, Sarawak, Malaysia, Borneo, material culture, tacit knowledge, technology, basketry, Baram, Rejang, organic materials
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Anthropology, Department of
Thesis Date:2009
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:04 Dec 2009 15:03

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