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The missing share: The ritual language of sharing as a 'total social fact' in the eastern Himalayas (Northwest Yunnan, China)

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Chapter Summary

This chapter analyses the workings of political relationships and exchange networks in a regional system involving the circulation of both goods and people, but also of values regarding wealth and status differences. Using an ethno-historical approach, the chapter shows how exchange, partaking and debt are, for the local societies of this very specific area where China, Tibet and Burma meet, key notions that articulate a more general politico-religious system. The aim of the chapter is twofold. On the one hand, it characterizes the notion of ritual language used by Leach in his book Political Systems and discusses its heuristic value. On the other hand, presenting author's own analysis based on an ethno-historical approach to the relationships between the Drung and their neighbours on the Sino-Burmese border, the chapter makes use of this notion of ritual language in an attempt to elaborate it further.

Keywords: Eastern Himalayas; Edmund Leach; ritual language; Yunnan

10.1163/ej.9789004160347.i-331.70
/content/books/10.1163/ej.9789004160347.i-331.70
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