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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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Explaining Feasts

(p.276) 8 Conclusions
Feasting in Southeast Asia

Brian Hayden

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter addresses the question of why people spend lavishly to host feasts, and what they hope to gain from doing so. Ephemeral status is contrasted with practical benefits. The role of ideology in hill tribe behavior is reviewed as well. Constraints are discussed especially for acquiring the wealth necessary to underwrite lavish feasts. The acquisition of domestic animals is pivotal in understanding the ability to host feasts in Southeast Asia, and this feature has wide ranging consequences for the development of socioeconomic inequalities in supposedly “egalitarian” hill tribe communities. Other aggrandizer strategies are discussed, especially the charging of high prices for marriage alliances and for respectable funerals. Feasting is but one aggrandizer strategy, and it plays a critical role in the creation of political power at the village level. Archaeological patterning is reviewed, and issues that require further investigation are presented.

Keywords:   status, ideology, political ecology, benefits, domestic animals, aggrandizers, archaeology

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