Hunter Gatherer Research

Morality, sharing and change among the Ngaju people in Central Kalimantan

Hunter Gatherer Research (2017), 3, (3), 515–536.

Abstract

The article discusses the morality of sharing and how morality and values go hand in hand with certain forms of transfers among the Ngaju people in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia. More precisely it examines interaction between a climate change mitigation project and the Ngaju Dayaks. Ngaju Dayaks living along the Kahayan River have practiced hunting, and gathering different forest products and shifting cultivation for centuries. Hunted game brought back to their community was shared with people nearby as well as some other forest products or rice harvest to the family or close kin. Ngaju also engaged in both market and non-market exchange. Earlier anthropological discussions on sharing treated sharing as a type of reciprocity, but more recently anthropologists have debated whether sharing is a transactional form in its own right or a part of reciprocal transactions. Sharing suggests and supports the values of autonomy and non-accumulation of wealth, while exchange creates dependencies and thus hierarchical relations. This article shows that sharing may acceptably turn into exchange in certain circumstances, which makes it a much more complicated and conflated concept than the idea of sharing as a completely separate transaction would suggest.

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References

Angelsen, A & McNeill, D 2012. The evolution of REDD+. In Angelsen, A, Brockhaus, M, Sunderlin, WD & Verchot, LV (eds) Analysing REDD+. Challenges and choices. Bogor: CIFOR:31–49. Google Scholar

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Bird-David, N 1990. The giving environment: another perspective on the economic system of gatherer-hunters. Current Anthropology 31(2):189–196. Google Scholar

Corsín Jiménez, C & Willerslev, R 2007. ‘An anthropological concept of the concept’: reversibility among the Siberian Yukaghirs. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 13:527–544. Google Scholar

Endicott, K & Bellwood, P 1991. The possibilities of independent foraging in the rain forest of peninsular Malaysia. Human Ecology 19(2):151–185. Google Scholar

Gibson, T & Sillander, K 2011. Introduction. In Gibson, T & Sillander, K (eds) Anarchic solidarity: autonomy, equality, and fellowship in Southeast Asia. New Haven, CT: Yale University Southeast Asia Studies:1–16. Google Scholar

Helliwell, C 1994. ‘A just precedency’: the notion of equality in anthropological discourse. History and Anthropology 7(1–4):563–375. Google Scholar

Howell, S 2014. ‘No RIGHTS-No REDD’: some implication of a turn towards co-benefits. Forum for Development Studies 41(2):253–272. Google Scholar

Ingold, T 1999. On the social relations of the hunter-gatherer band. In Lee, RB & Daly, RH (eds) The Cambridge encyclopedia of hunters and gatherers. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press:399–210. Google Scholar

Jay, SE 1993. Canoes for the spirits: two types of spirit mediumship in Central Kalimantan. In Winzeler, R (ed) The seen and the unseen: shamanism, mediumship and possession in Borneo. Shanghai: Borneo Research Council:151–168. Google Scholar

Kelly, R 2007 [1995]. The foraging spectrum: diversity of hunter-gatherer lifeways. Clinton Corners, NY: Percheron Press. Google Scholar

King, VT 1993. The peoples of Borneo. Oxford: Blackwell. Google Scholar

Lounela, A 2015. Climate change disputes and justice in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia. Asia Pacific Viewpoint 56(1):62–78. Google Scholar

Lounela, A 2017. Continuity and change in Central Kalimantan: climate change, monetization of nature, and its bearing on value orientations. In Arenz, C, Haug, M, Seitz, S & Venz, O (eds) Continuity under change in Dayak Societies. Wiesbaden: Springer:97–119. Google Scholar

Mauss, M 1966. The gift: forms and functions of exchange in archaic societies. London: Cohen & West. Google Scholar

Minter, T 2010. The Agta of the Northern Sierra Madre: livelihood strategies and resilience among Philippine hunter-gatherers. PhD thesis. Leiden: Leiden University. Google Scholar

Oktayanty, Y 2015. Ketimpang di Balik Penerimaan REDD+. Sebuah Etnografi tentang Basis dan Hubungan Ekonomi Masyarakat Buntoi. Unpublished Master’s thesis. Yogyakarta: University of Gadjah Mada. Google Scholar

Otto, T & Willerslev, R 2013. Prologue: value as theory. Value, action and critique. HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory 3(2):1–10. Google Scholar

Peterson, N 1993. Demand sharing: reciprocity and pressure for generosity among foragers. American Anthropologist 95(4):860–874. Google Scholar

Price, J 1975. Sharing: the integration of intimate economies. Anthropologica 17(1):3–27. Google Scholar

Putra EI, Hayasaka, H, Takashi, H & Usup, A 2008. Recent peat fire activity in the Mega Rice project area, Central Kalimantan, Indonesia. Journal of Disaster Research 3(5):334–335. Google Scholar

Rousseau, J 2001. Hereditary stratification in middle-range societies. The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 7(1):117–131. Google Scholar

Sahlins, M 1972. Stone age economics. Chicago: Aldine-Atherton. Google Scholar

Sather, C 2006. ‘All threads are white’: Iban egalitarianism reconsidered. In Fox, J & Sather, C (eds) Origins, ancestry and alliance; explorations in Austronesian ethnography. Canberra: ANU E Press:73–112. Google Scholar

Schärer, H 1963. Ngaju religion: the conception of god among a south Borneo people. Koninklijk Instituut voor taal-, land-, en volkenkunde. doi: 10.1007/978-94-011-9346-7. Google Scholar

Schiller, A 1997. Small sacrifices; religious change and cultural identity among the Ngaju of Indonesia. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Google Scholar

Tsing, A 1993. Diamond queen: marginality in an out-of-the-way place. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Google Scholar

Tsing, A 2015. The mushroom at the end of the world: on the possibility of life in capitalist ruins. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Google Scholar

UNOPS 2014. Bringing Borneo into global climate change conversations. 19 May 2014. https://www.unops.org/news-and-stories/news/bringing-borneo-into-global-climate-change-conversations. Google Scholar

Widlok, T 2004. Sharing by default? Outline of an anthropology of virtue. Anthropological Theory 4(1):53–70. Google Scholar

Widlok, T 2013. Sharing. Allowing others to take what is valued. HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory 3(2):11–31. Google Scholar

Widlok, T 2017. Anthropology and the economy of sharing. New York: Routledge. Google Scholar

Woodburn, J 1982. Egalitarian societies. Man, New Series. 17(3):431–451. Google Scholar

Woodburn, J 1998. ‘Sharing is not a form of exchange’: an analysis of property-sharing in immediate-return hunter-gatherer societies. In Hann, C (ed) Property relations: renewing the anthropological tradition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press:48–63. Google Scholar

Angelsen, A & McNeill, D 2012. The evolution of REDD+. In Angelsen, A, Brockhaus, M, Sunderlin, WD & Verchot, LV (eds) Analysing REDD+. Challenges and choices. Bogor: CIFOR:31–49. Google Scholar

Appel, GN 1976. Preface. In Appel, GN (ed) The societies of Borneo: explorations in the theory of cognatic social structure. Washington: American Anthropological Association. Google Scholar

Bird-David, N 1990. The giving environment: another perspective on the economic system of gatherer-hunters. Current Anthropology 31(2):189–196. Google Scholar

Corsín Jiménez, C & Willerslev, R 2007. ‘An anthropological concept of the concept’: reversibility among the Siberian Yukaghirs. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 13:527–544. Google Scholar

Endicott, K & Bellwood, P 1991. The possibilities of independent foraging in the rain forest of peninsular Malaysia. Human Ecology 19(2):151–185. Google Scholar

Gibson, T & Sillander, K 2011. Introduction. In Gibson, T & Sillander, K (eds) Anarchic solidarity: autonomy, equality, and fellowship in Southeast Asia. New Haven, CT: Yale University Southeast Asia Studies:1–16. Google Scholar

Helliwell, C 1994. ‘A just precedency’: the notion of equality in anthropological discourse. History and Anthropology 7(1–4):563–375. Google Scholar

Howell, S 2014. ‘No RIGHTS-No REDD’: some implication of a turn towards co-benefits. Forum for Development Studies 41(2):253–272. Google Scholar

Ingold, T 1999. On the social relations of the hunter-gatherer band. In Lee, RB & Daly, RH (eds) The Cambridge encyclopedia of hunters and gatherers. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press:399–210. Google Scholar

Jay, SE 1993. Canoes for the spirits: two types of spirit mediumship in Central Kalimantan. In Winzeler, R (ed) The seen and the unseen: shamanism, mediumship and possession in Borneo. Shanghai: Borneo Research Council:151–168. Google Scholar

Kelly, R 2007 [1995]. The foraging spectrum: diversity of hunter-gatherer lifeways. Clinton Corners, NY: Percheron Press. Google Scholar

King, VT 1993. The peoples of Borneo. Oxford: Blackwell. Google Scholar

Lounela, A 2015. Climate change disputes and justice in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia. Asia Pacific Viewpoint 56(1):62–78. Google Scholar

Lounela, A 2017. Continuity and change in Central Kalimantan: climate change, monetization of nature, and its bearing on value orientations. In Arenz, C, Haug, M, Seitz, S & Venz, O (eds) Continuity under change in Dayak Societies. Wiesbaden: Springer:97–119. Google Scholar

Mauss, M 1966. The gift: forms and functions of exchange in archaic societies. London: Cohen & West. Google Scholar

Minter, T 2010. The Agta of the Northern Sierra Madre: livelihood strategies and resilience among Philippine hunter-gatherers. PhD thesis. Leiden: Leiden University. Google Scholar

Oktayanty, Y 2015. Ketimpang di Balik Penerimaan REDD+. Sebuah Etnografi tentang Basis dan Hubungan Ekonomi Masyarakat Buntoi. Unpublished Master’s thesis. Yogyakarta: University of Gadjah Mada. Google Scholar

Otto, T & Willerslev, R 2013. Prologue: value as theory. Value, action and critique. HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory 3(2):1–10. Google Scholar

Peterson, N 1993. Demand sharing: reciprocity and pressure for generosity among foragers. American Anthropologist 95(4):860–874. Google Scholar

Price, J 1975. Sharing: the integration of intimate economies. Anthropologica 17(1):3–27. Google Scholar

Putra EI, Hayasaka, H, Takashi, H & Usup, A 2008. Recent peat fire activity in the Mega Rice project area, Central Kalimantan, Indonesia. Journal of Disaster Research 3(5):334–335. Google Scholar

Rousseau, J 2001. Hereditary stratification in middle-range societies. The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 7(1):117–131. Google Scholar

Sahlins, M 1972. Stone age economics. Chicago: Aldine-Atherton. Google Scholar

Sather, C 2006. ‘All threads are white’: Iban egalitarianism reconsidered. In Fox, J & Sather, C (eds) Origins, ancestry and alliance; explorations in Austronesian ethnography. Canberra: ANU E Press:73–112. Google Scholar

Schärer, H 1963. Ngaju religion: the conception of god among a south Borneo people. Koninklijk Instituut voor taal-, land-, en volkenkunde. doi: 10.1007/978-94-011-9346-7. Google Scholar

Schiller, A 1997. Small sacrifices; religious change and cultural identity among the Ngaju of Indonesia. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Google Scholar

Tsing, A 1993. Diamond queen: marginality in an out-of-the-way place. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Google Scholar

Tsing, A 2015. The mushroom at the end of the world: on the possibility of life in capitalist ruins. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Google Scholar

UNOPS 2014. Bringing Borneo into global climate change conversations. 19 May 2014. https://www.unops.org/news-and-stories/news/bringing-borneo-into-global-climate-change-conversations. Google Scholar

Widlok, T 2004. Sharing by default? Outline of an anthropology of virtue. Anthropological Theory 4(1):53–70. Google Scholar

Widlok, T 2013. Sharing. Allowing others to take what is valued. HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory 3(2):11–31. Google Scholar

Widlok, T 2017. Anthropology and the economy of sharing. New York: Routledge. Google Scholar

Woodburn, J 1982. Egalitarian societies. Man, New Series. 17(3):431–451. Google Scholar

Woodburn, J 1998. ‘Sharing is not a form of exchange’: an analysis of property-sharing in immediate-return hunter-gatherer societies. In Hann, C (ed) Property relations: renewing the anthropological tradition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press:48–63. Google Scholar

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Author details

Lounela, Anu