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Feasting in Southeast Asia$
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Brian Hayden

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780824856267

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824856267.001.0001

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The Akha, “Rife with Feasts”

The Akha, “Rife with Feasts”

Brian Hayden and Ralana Maneeprasert

(p.63) 3 The Akha, “Rife with Feasts”
Feasting in Southeast Asia

Brian Hayden

University of Hawai'i Press

The Akha constitute the relatively poor end of the hill tribe spectrum, but they have a wide range of feasts that employ the available surplus production. This chapter shows how Akha feasts support the economic, ritual, and sociopolitical organization of communities. The role of taboos as aggrandizer strategies is explored and the internal dynamics of the ritual-political structure of villages is examined. Examples of the range of Akha feasts are described and explanations provided in terms of how they dovetail with various levels of sociopolitical groups, including household, clan, administrative, and village levels, but especially lineages. The important issue of why some households do not participate in feasts is raised. Material patterning of feasts is again discussed.

Keywords:   Akha, political structure, taboos, aggrandizers, lineages, archaeology, material patterns

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