Myth, memory, and the oral tradition: Cicero in the Trobriands
. American Anthropologist New Series 78(4): 783-796.
Not long after Malinowski's claim, Rentoul noted a decided concern among Trobriand
women with native measures 'to expel the male seed' after intercourse (1931:153; emphasis in original) in an attempt to abort pregnancy (see also Powell 1980:701; Senft 2009:221-22, 2011:33-34).5 In fact a very great deal of evidence has accumulated over the years indicating that the alleged 'ignorance of physiological paternity' in the Trobriands
masks not only a religious dogma, as Edmund Leach (1967) concluded, but various other nuances that eluded Malinowski.
In any event, Oceanists have long been familiar with the foreign provenience of ruling chiefs, since not only Hocart on Fiji, but also the classic ethnographies of Firth on Tikopia and Malinowski on the Trobriands
that had to do with just such dual polities of arriviste paramounts and autochthonous subjects.
Strathern's description of the person as the 'composite site' of the substances and actions of plural others has resonated in ethnographic reports from around the region, including Vanuatu (Hess 2009: 51f), Fiji (Becker 1995: 4), Tanga (Foster 1990: 432) and the Trobriands
According to Hage and Harary's information on Micronesian societies (1996) and Mosko's research on the Trobriands
(1995), many other so-called 'matrilineal' systems in the Pacific have strong paternal notions focused on chiefly authorities who act as 'fathers' to members of different resident 'matrilineal' groups.
Moreover, what could be construed in national programs on HIV prevention as 'promiscuous sex' and 'risk behaviour' is in the Trobriands
, for example, not only common practice but vital to the development of interclan relations and the perpetuation of the clan through the maintenance of 'relations of difference'.
I begin with a brief overview of the factors influencing how the presence of HIV and AIDS is taking shape in the Trobriands
. I then distill some of the germane elements of Trobriand
ideology on kinship, exchange relations, and sexuality to provide a conceptual framework for considering the significance of sovasova in maintaining relations of difference.
(26.) When I queried Susanne Kuehling on the topic for Dobu and nearby Trobriands
, she indicated that, given a particular context, Dobuan girls are at risk of being pack-raped, especially so insofar as they are perceived already to be sexually active (personal communication).
(8.) As the well-known work of Malinowski and Leach about the milamala demonstrate, across Melanesia the appearance of the Palolo appears to occur at slightly different times even within a specific group of islands such as the Trobriands
Even in the Trobriands
where, by Weiner's account (1976), women were and are central to collective regeneration, their interests as women were still mediated through relations of kinship.
The collection of essays covers research and observation of maritime societies in the Marshall Islands, the Louisiade Archipelago, the Trobriands
, Kiriwina, the Marovo Sound and Lagoon of the Solomons, Rotuma, Sikaiana Atoll, Nukumanu, and last, but by no means least, because this essay, as does the whole book, recognizes an Austronesian unity, the Bugis navigators of South Sulawesi and their maritime diaspora.
Her 'Malinowskian' interpretation of Tonga is even less convincing, however, than Malinowski's own interpretation of the Trobriands