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The Gebusi: Lives Transformed in a Rainforest World Third Edition [Bruce Knauft] ISBN ISBN Why is ISBN important?. Buy Gebusi 3rd edition () by Bruce M. Knauft for up to 90% off at Gebusi by Bruce M. Knauft - ISBN Edition: 3RD USED. body art and public performance (Knauft b) [available in PDF on the .. As discussed in Parts II and III of The Gebusi, 3rd edition, Gebusi homicide has.
Its scrawny body cries until its wails lose force and leave a ghostly little corpse. It was also hard on us that Gebusi men didnt seem to mind. During our rst ve weeks in the eld, we saw rst one baby die and then another. As the mother wailed with grief, her women-kin gathered in support. But the men continued to joke and smoke in the longhouse, and the boys played gaily in the village clearing. Only the babys father stayed close by, and even this was with an air of detached waitinguntil the small body could be summarily buried.
Although the big funeral feast for Dugawe took place just two days after his burial, it ended up being a sideshow to events that occurred weeks later. By the time the sorcery investigation resumed, my opinion of Sialim had changed. At rst, I thought she had acted irresponsibly. She had carried on a sexual affair with a young man named Sagawa, and she had apparently shamed her husband into killing himself.
But additional facts painted a different picture. As Eileen found out from the women, Dugawe had years earlier killed not only his rst wife but also his own small son. These murders had been so awful that villagers had informed the police, and Dugawe had served a ve-year prison term outside the Nomad Station area.
To our knowledge, he was the only Gebusi to have been incarcerated in this way. His prison term over, Dugawe had returned to the area and married Sialim, who had recently been widowed by the death of Dugawes brother. Gebusi widows often end up marrying a male family relative of their dead husband.
Anthropologists term this marriage by levirate. Such unions have the effect of keeping the widows labor and children within the family line of her original 44 p a r t o n e 1 9 8 0 8 2 husband. Knowing Dugawes history, however, Sialim did not want to marry him.
As newlyweds, they fought, and he frequently beat her. On one occasion, she nally sought recourse from the patrol ofcers at the Nomad Station. Given her bruises and Dugawes violent past, the police arrested him again and held him at the local jail. It was while he was in jail that Sialim took up with Sagawa, her young lover. Perhaps she hoped that her relationship with Sagawa would become a de facto marriage before Dugawe was released from jail.
But Dugawe was discharged earlier than expected. Enraged, he wanted to kill Sialim and her partner. But Silap and the other men of Yibihilu persuaded him that he would then receive an even longer prison term than the one he had already endured. In the midst of this tense situation, Dugawe took up again with Sialim.
But after their ght in the forest, he committed suicide. From a Western feminist perspective, it might be argued that Sialim could hardly be blamed. She had been saddled with an abusive marriage and a murderous spouse.
She had tried to nd refuge, sought solace with another partner, and then stood up for herself when Dugawe fought with her.
What villagers took as a sign of travestyher ghting with her husband and scratching his shirt with an arrowcould have been a desperate attempt at self-defense.
However, Sialim was rebuked not only by the men of Yibihilu but especially by Dugawes female kin. She had gone outside the community, gotten her husband jailed, and cheated on him. To make matters worse, her romantic affair was with a young man who had not yet been initiated.
What was I to think? I could criticize Gebusi values as condoning violent sexism. But Sialim had violated standards of marital delity that were deeply held by the Gebusi. I felt stuck in the middle between these viewpoints. Most importantly, though, we were concerned for Sialims safety, fearing she could be attacked or killed.
Eileen asked the police to protect her, and this dovetailed with the mens desires to forestall any more agitation. Fortunately for everyone, she was taken off to Nomad. As I slowly came to realize, Gebusi inquests into and retributions for sorcery typically did not take place until well after the burial of the person who had died.
The main exception was if the corpse itself signaled while lying in state that a given sorcery suspect had killed him or her. A sorcery suspect might be enjoined to vehemently shake the rotting corpse while wailing his or her grief.
If at that unlucky moment the corpse gave a signspilling cadaveric uid, moaning due to gases in its lungs, or bulging its eyes out or even opening or bursting them as a result of gas pressure from decomposition within the braincasethen the suspect could be axed to death on the spot. If the verdict of the corpse was clear, there would be little protest over the killing from even the closest relatives of the person executed.
But this had not happened while Dugawes corpse was starting to decompose. So the men of Yibihilu had soothed the anger of Dugawes visiting relatives by extending hospitalitysnapping ngers, sharing tobacco, giving food, and holding a sance. For the Gebusi, however, the purpose of the inquest was to ferret out the sorcerers who had killed Dugawe through spiritual means.
In their belief, all human deaths were caused by people either through sorcery or through violence. Even a man who had fallen out of a coconut tree and broken his back had been killed by a sorcerer: because the man had successfully climbed many coconut trees in the past, a sorcerer must have made him lose his grip. Deaths from sickness were likewise attributed to sorcery the sorcerer had caused the lethal illness. In the case of Dugawes death, the Gebusi took it as self-evident that sorcerers either had driven Dugawe crazy enough to kill himself or had killed him and then tampered with the evidence to make it look like suicide.
Five weeks after his funeral feast, the real investigation into Dugawes death began. In a nod to neutrality, the inquest sances were conducted by a spirit medium who had had little personal connection with Dugawe.
But when these sances were inconclusive, further investigation was led by our clever friend Swamin, the main spirit medium of Yibihilu.
By this time, I had discovered that Gebusi sorcery had two main types. In one type, called bogay, the sorcerer was believed to secretly tie up the feces or other bodily leavings of the victim, thus causing a long, painful illness. The sorcerer then killed the victim by burning the fecal matter or other leavings.
Anthropologists sometimes call this imitative magicmagical use of supernatural powers based on the principle that like produces like. In the other variety of Gebusi sorcery, called ogowili, sorcerers were believed to take the form of magical warriors who attacked the victim in the forest, usually when he or she was alone. The sorcerer-warriors then killed the victim with arrows and clubs, ate out his or her insides, magically sewed him or her up, and nally cast a spell to give the person amnesia.
Although the victim might amble uncertainly back to the village, he or she would die a sudden death shortly thereafter. Bogay comes under the heading of what ethnographers call parcel sorcery, that is, sickness sent by manipulating a parcel of the victims leavings.
By contrast, ogowili qualies as assault sorcery, a cannibal attack by magical warriors. For the Gebusi, bogay explained the torment of a long, lethal illness, while ogowili explained deaths that were relatively quick and sudden, as well as those caused by accident and suicide.
In these cases, assault sorcerers were believed to force their victims to put themselves in precarious danger. One way or the other, Gebusi believed that all deaths from sickness, accident, or suicide were caused by sorcery. In reality, we found no evidence that Gebusi actually practiced either type of sorceryand we found much evidence to the contrary. Assault sorcerythat is, the eating and then magical sewing up of a victim to disguise a lethal attackis simply impossible from our point of view.
Although parcel sorcery is attempted quite genuinely by some peoples in Melanesia and elsewhere, our investigations among Gebusi suggested consistently that their accusations of parcel sorcery were trumped-up charges against unfortunate suspects.
But Gebusi continued to have unshakable belief in parcel sorcery. Gebusi men staunchly committed themselves to exposing bogay sorcerers and taking action against them, including within their own community.
Although the ogowili is thought to be a man who takes the form of a magical warrior, he may be manipulated to do this by a malicious woman. Possibly, then, Sialim could be found guilty of Dugawes death if she had had sex with an ogowili and induced him to drive her husband crazy. For the Gebusi, this was plausible since Sialim was known to have had a sexual affair with Sagawa. In his sances, however, Swamins spirits suggested a different scenario.
Rather than accuse Sialim, the spirits described how ogowili warriors had descended on Dugawe from a distant settlement while Sialim was away fetching water. Though the assault sorcerers had disguised the evidence and covered their tracks, Swamins spirits assured the assembled men that signs of their attack could still be found in the forest near where Dugawes death had occurred.
Further, the ogowili might then be tracked back to their own settlement, where they could, at least in principle, be attacked in their human form to avenge the killing of Dugawe. To track assault sorcerers through the forest, however, the Gebusi needed spiritual help to guide them.
As Swamins sance ended, at about ve oclock in the morning, the men of Yibihilu got ready to search for the assault sorcerers responsible for Dugawes death.
Uncertain what was going to happen next, I pulled on my boots and grabbed my ashlight in the predawn darkness. The men were carrying bows and arrows, and some had painted their faces black, like warriors.
Eventually, we approached Abwiswimaym, the forest plot where Dugawe had drunk poison. The mood became tense as we anticipated the ghostly form of an assault sorcerer ahead. Quietly and anxiously, men sought cover, pointed their arrows, and advanced warily on their spectral enemy. I pinched my arm to remind myself that we were not likely to nd an actual person but rather the evidence of a magical attack by spiritual warriors lurking nearby.
But after a while, the area was declared safe. Next, we searched upstream for the bulufthe magically transformed remains of Dugawe after his insides had ostensibly been eaten by sorcerers.
With Swamins spirits guiding us, we found an odd-looking stick that was said to be the knife that the sorcerers had used to cut Dugawe open. An indentation in the ground was the footprint of an ogowili. A discolored patch of dirt was Dugawes blood, which they said had poured out during the attack.
As incredulous as I was of these associations, the Gebusi around me were convinced. But then again, the very power of assault sorcerers rests in their ability to disguise their attacks and make the results look almost normal. After searching a nearby stream for Dugawes skin and bones, we followed the water upstream in the general direction of a distant community.
But Swamins spirits then lost the trail of the assailants and could not nd it again. Ultimately, then, we could not track the assault sorcerers to their homes or identify them by name. To the men, however, the investigation validated the information given by Swamins spirits during his sance. Dugawe had been killed by an assault sorcerer from a distant village, but the identity of the person was impossible to determine and no further action could be feasibly taken.
Though I thought this would be the end of Dugawes story, its nal twists did not unfold for another seven months. During this time, Sialim spent more and more time with Swamins household. Eventually, she willingly consented to chapter 3 l i v e s o f d e at h 47 marry himover the entreaties and objections of her young lover, Sagawa. Strong and robust for a middle-aged man, Swamin had been a widower.
During our nal year of eldwork, he and Sialim seemed to be happily married. Though this would have been a good Hollywood ending, it was not the one we ultimately came away with. It turned out that three years previously, Swamin had killed Sialims own mother.
The old woman, named Mokoyl, had been named as the parcel sorcerer responsible for the death of Swamins rst wife. Mokoyl had tried to prove her innocence by conducting a bird egg divinationcooking eggs that were placed inside a mound of damp and uncooked sago starch. Unfortunately, the eggs had been badly undercooked. When Mokoyl had given Swamin one of the eggs to eatas she was expected to do as part of the divinationhe had promptly vomited. This had been taken as a sign that Swamins dead wife was clutching his throat, refusing Mokoyls food, and conrming Mokoyls guilt.
A few weeks later about a year before we arrived in New Guinea , Swamin had attacked Mokoyl while she was alone in the forest with Boyl the woman who ended up being Eileens best friend. As Boyl told Eileen, she herself had tried to run away when Swamin approached.
But he had demanded that she stay as a witness, lest he chase her down as well. Petried, Boyl had watched as Swamin extracted an ostensible confession from Mokoyl and then spilt her skull with his bush knife. He left her dead in the forest as Boyl ran off. Given the spiritual evidence that had seemed to conrm Mokoyls guilt, most of the community agreed that Mokoyl was guilty and had deserved to die.
Her body had been summarily buried in the forest. But villagers from an adjacent settlement, knowing that Mokoyl had been a robust older woman with ample esh, had dug up her body and eaten parts of it before it decomposed.
In so doing, they had also indicated their support for the killing. Government ofcers never found out about the incident. If we add this last episode to the chain of events surrounding Dugawes death, what conclusions can we draw?
With the benet of hindsight, reection, and analysis, anthropologists are charged with making sense of diverse societies and culturesand with their own. Experience becomes fieldwork, and eldwork becomes ethnographic writing. But how does this transition occur? For me in the eld, it was challenging. No Gebusi ever gave us a full narrative of Dugawes death, its aftermath, and the events that preceded it.
Rather, the story emerged from our observations over time, casual conversations, transcriptions of spirit sances, event calendars, and structured interviews with individual Gebusi concerning life histories, kinship, and mortality.
Also important were oral accounts and cross-checking concerning events that predated our arrival, such as the killing of Dugawes rst wife and of Sialims mother. This information was written up in daily entries and in reflections on what we thought was happening.
Within a few days while the information was still fresh , we typed these up as eld notes and analyzed them in relation to other information we were gathering. Even with events that I witnessed and experienced myself, my awareness was often dim and partial at firststrong in 48 p a r t o n e 1 9 8 0 8 2 emotion but weak in understanding.
An initial event like Dugawes death, dramatic as it was, became but one end of a tangled web. It sucked me into a thicket of crisscrossed meanings and histories. Village life was a continuing stream of dramas that linked people together while exposing their differences. Even in the few weeks between Dugawes burial and the inquest sances for his death, the villagers undertook spiritual investigations for seven other sicknesses, including my own, when I was stricken with my rst serious bout of malaria.
We found ourselves living in an intricate soap operatruth more surprising than fiction. Lovers, killers, spouses, co-residents, friends, and relatives all played their parts in concocting a strong and sometimes toxic brew. No wonder that coming together in collective good company was so important to Gebusior that it was such an accomplishment! What is participant observation in such a world?
In the present case, I observed and, to some extent, participated in the retrieval of Dugawes body, his funeral and burial, and the spirit sances and sorcery investigations that followed. However, I did not want to participate in any attack on a suspected sorcerer.
Eileen helped facilitate Sialims departure to a safer place when sentiments against her were highest. This said, we worried that more severe violence might occur. Later in our eldwork, when our understanding was better, an older woman in the village was accused of being a parcel sorcerer. In this case, we were able to act like kin supporters and side with the womans family when she was forced to test her innocence by cooking a divination sago.
Fortunately, no violent action was taken against her, but she nonetheless had to move out of the village with her closest kin. As this episode clearly indicates, cultural anthropologists often court risk and uncertainty as they decide what to observe and how and when to participate in the participant observation of eldwork.
Between events we observed, those we were able to reliably reconstruct, and those we were able to participate in with good conscience, what larger patterns emerge concerning Dugawes death, its precedents, and its legacy? We can review. My account began with a description of Dugawes suicide, the attacks on Sialim, and the mourning and burial of Dugawes body. Then came the surprisingly festive events of the funeral feast held to commemorate him.
These were followed by a month of waiting. Then, after other aborted attempts, Swamin, the communitys principal spirit medium, conducted a death inquest sance for Dugawe. Surprisingly, his spirits recast the death as an attack by male assault sorcerers from a distant settlement. A hunt in the forest for the sorcerers was inconclusive. Eventually, Dugawes spirit was declared appeased and his widow, Sialim, was exonerated.
Several months later, Sialim and Swamin were married. Rounding out this history were events that occurred prior to our eldwork. These included Dugawes killing of his rst wife and son; Swamins killing of Sialims mother, the jailing of Dugawe for having beaten Sialim; and Sialims sexual affair with Sagawa.
This web of incidents shows how major events among the Gebusi, such as Dugawes death, are rarely isolated phenomena. Their causes and conditions link backward and forward through time. In viewing the larger picture, many topics chapter 3 l i v e s o f d e at h 49 that might seem disparatesickness and death, marriage, sex, sorcery, homicide, and suicidecome into interconnected focus.
In addition, a single event, such as Dugawes death, can expose a host of broader issues: emotional dynamics among Gebusi, relations between men and women, the importance of spirits and spirit mediums, the impact of government incarceration, and even the role of subsistence practices such as sh poisoning.
Far from being separate, these features resonate and twine together. So what does Dugawes story tell us about the Gebusi? Concerning Gebusi sorcery and gender relations, the events surrounding Dugawes death illustrate the following: 1. Gebusi women take primary responsibility for mourning and for emotionally identifying with the person who has died.
Men investigate the death and take action against those deemed responsible as sorcerers. Gebusi visitors burials and funeral feasts express antagonism, but this aggression is undercut by the hosts hospitality.
Deeper anger is usually not expressed until proper inquests and divinations have been arranged. The Gebusi believe that all adult deaths from sickness, accident, or suicide are caused by either male assault sorcerers ogowili or by male or female parcel sorcerers bogay.
Of the two, suspects for parcel sorcery such as Sialims mother are more likely to be executed. There is virtually no objective evidence that the Gebusi actually practice sorcery, but they rmly believe in its existence.
In this sense, Gebusi sorcery is a form of scapegoating. The Gebusi conrm the identity of sorcerers through an elaborate variety of spiritual inquests and divinations. Male spirit mediums play a key role in Gebusi sorcery accusations.
The opinion of their spirits during all-night sances is highly inuential, and they can direct the nding and interpretation of evidence that is used to validate an accusation. Though spirit mediums should be neutral parties, the outcome of the sorcery inquest may end up beneting the spirit medium who conducts them. In Dugawes case, Swamins spirits directed antagonism away from Sialim, whom he ended up marrying a few months later. After sorcery inquests are completed, social relations are often re-established between the families involvedeven if an accused sorcerer has been attacked or killed.
After Sialims mother was executed, her relatives made peace with the killers. Sialim herself continued to live in the Yibihilu community after both her mothers killing and her husbands suicide. Indeed, she ended up marrying her mothers killer. Sickness, death, sorcery, and marriage often link in a cycle of reciprocity or balance over time. Events that seem spontaneous, idiosyncratic, or even bizarre may end up illustrating deeper cultural continuities. In Dugawes 50 p a r t o n e 1 9 8 0 8 2 case, Sialim was attacked in reciprocity for his suicide.
The earlier death of Swamins wife was balanced by Swamins killing of Mokoyl and then by the replacing of his deceased wife by his marriage to Mokolys daughter, Sialim. The practices and beliefs described above were conrmed by the rest of my eldwork with the Gebusi in as distinctive to Gebusi religion, politics, and social relations. In much ethnographic writing, one nds similar remarks to the effect that People X do or believe Y under condition Z. It should be noted, however, that in most, if not all, cases, these summary statements collapse and compress a tangle of ethnographic experiences and information.
Such statements are generalizations; they bleach out the complexities of human experience and imply that behaviors and customs continually repeat themselves rather than having the potential to change over time. If their limitations are admitted and understood, however, such thumbnail statements can serve as useful guides for generalization and cross-cultural comparison.
During our eldwork, features of Gebusi life gradually became both more meaningful and more comparable or contrastive to our understanding of customs in other societies, including our own. Casey , ruled in April that the proposed amendment was unconstitutional under the federal Constitution and blocked inclusion of the referendum question on the ballot.
Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal of the state Supreme Court's ruling. Women[ edit ] In , with the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution , women became protected against discrimination in their right to vote in the United States. Reed  that the 14th amendment applies to women ,  as they are "persons" according to the US Constitution.
Nobody ever voted for that. Balkin states that, at a minimum "the fourteenth amendment was intended to prohibit some forms of sex discrimination-- discrimination in basic civil rights against single women. Also, other commentators have noted that some people who ratified the Constitution in in other contemporaneous contexts ratified state level Constitutions that saw women as Persons, required to be treated as such, including in rights such as voting.
Daniel Fincke states "Applying the logic to abortion she argues that an involuntarily pregnant woman has the right to refuse to let her body be used by the fetus even were we to reason that the fetus has a right to life. Some fetal homicide laws have caused women to be sentenced to jail time for suspected drug use during her pregnancy that ended in a miscarriage, like the Alabama women who was sentenced to ten years for her suspected drug use.
In , under the 14th Amendment, black men in the United States became citizens. In , under the 15th Amendment , black men got the right to vote. Children[ edit ] The legal definition of persons may include or exclude children depending on the context. In the US, regarding liability, children or minors are not legally persons because they do not satisfy the requirements for personhood under the law.
Commonly named species in this context include the great apes , cetaceans ,  and elephants , because of their apparent intelligence and intricate social rules. The idea of extending personhood to all animals has the support of legal scholars such as Alan Dershowitz  and Laurence Tribe of Harvard Law School ,  and animal law courses are as of taught in 92 out of law schools in the United States.
Francione of Rutgers University School of Law, a collection of writings that summarizes his work to date and makes the case for non-human animals as persons. Proponents of human exceptionalism also referred to by its critics as speciesism or human supremacism  have countered that we must institute a strict demarcation of personhood based on species membership in order to avoid the horrors of genocide based on propaganda dehumanizing one or more ethnicities or the injustices of forced sterilization as occurred in many countries to people with low I.
For example, Peter Singer 's two-tiered account distinguishes between basic sentience and the higher standard of self-consciousness which constitutes personhood. Wynn Schwartz has offered a Paradigm Case Formulation of Persons as a format allowing judges to identify qualities of personhood in different entities. The status of the orangutan as a "non-human subject" needs to be clarified by the court.