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Traditional Micronesian SocietiesAdaptation, Integration, and Political Organization in the Central Pacific$
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Glenn Petersen

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780824832483

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824832483.001.0001

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Household and Family, Land and Labor

Household and Family, Land and Labor

(p.85) Chapter 5 Household and Family, Land and Labor
Traditional Micronesian Societies

Glenn Petersen

University of Hawai'i Press

Micronesians’ ties to fellow clan members are matched in importance by their attachments to the lands they live on and farm, the communities in which they reside, and the islands they call home. To fully grasp the character of Micronesian social life, one must first appreciate the degree to which Micronesians consider people and their land as complementary facets of a single body, the lineage. On Lamotrek, for instance, so intertwined are people and their land that a single term, bwogat, means not only the lineage that lives and works together on the land but also the land on which the lineage lives and works. On Pulap, sharing food demonstrates kinship and symbolizes the sharing of land, which also is essential to identity. This chapter considers Micronesian societies in terms of groups of people living in particular places, focusing on the households in which people live, the lands from which they earn their livelihoods, and the organization of their labor.

Keywords:   Micronesia, Micronesian communities, land, lineage, clans, social life, households, labor

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