The Life of the Longhouse: An Archaeology of Ethnicity

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Overview

"For two centuries, travellers were amazed at the massive buildings found along the rivers that flow from the mountainous interior of Borneo. They concentrated hundreds of people under one roof, in the middle of empty rainforests. There was no practical necessity for this arrangement, and it remains a mystery. Peter Metcalf provides an answer by showing the historical context, using both oral histories and colonial records. The key factor was a pre-modern trading system that funneled rare and exotic jungle products to China via the ancient coastal city of Brunei. Meanwhile the elite manufactured goods traded upriver shaped the political and religious institutions of longhouse society. However, the apparent permanence of longhouses was an illusion. In historical terms, longhouse communities were both mobile and labile, and the patterns of ethnicity they created more closely resemble the contemporary world than any stereotype of 'tribal' societies"--Provided by publisher.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521110983
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 12/31/2009
  • Pages: 358
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Peter Metcalf is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Virginia. His research in Borneo spans thirty years, and he is the author of many books and articles.

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Table of Contents

The Problem: Ethnicity and Community

Pt. I Longhouses

1 Longhouses

2 Longhouse Communities

3 The Coming of the Brooke Raj

Pt. II Longhouses and Leaders

4 Aban Jau's Career

5 Aban Jau's Successors

Pt. III Longhouse and Trade

6 The Sultan's Fence

7 Premodern Upriver Trade

Pt. IV Longhouse Populations

8 The Linguistic Data

9 Disease, Slavery, Assimilation, Annihilation

Pt. V Longhouses and Ritual

10 The Ritual Consensus

11 The Ritual Operator

12 The Impresarios of the Ancestors

Pt. VI Longhouses and the State

13 Longhouses during the Raj

14 Longhouses after the Raj

Conclusion: The General in the Particular

Appendix

Bibliography

Index of Ethnowyms

Index of Authors and Subjects

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