- When gifts become commodities: pawn shops, valuables, and shame in Tonga and the Tongan diaspora
- Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute
- Volume | Issue number
- 14 | 1
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
Far from being displaced by modernity, the exchange of women's textile valuables of little practical value but enormous ritual significance is increasing in importance in Tonga and amongst Tongan migrants in the industrial West. The dwindling production of and increasing demand for these textile valuables have prompted entrepreneurs to open pawnshops, where customers who are monetarily poor mortgage valuables and customers lacking in exchange networks buy unclaimed valuables. Pawnshops convert valuables into commodities and transform the social relations among those involved. However, the one emotion that underlies traditional exchange, shame, remains central to the transactions, albeit in unevenly distributed fashion. The transformation of textiles from gift to commodity displays both rupture and continuity with pre-modern forms of exchange, continuity operating at the level of emotional subjectivities. Our analysis foregrounds objects, on the one hand, and emotions, on the other, as shaping the course of cultural and social history.
- go to publisher's site
If you believe that digital publication of certain material infringes any of your rights or (privacy) interests, please let the Library know, stating your reasons. In case of a legitimate complaint, the Library will make the material inaccessible and/or remove it from the website. Please Ask the Library, or send a letter to: Library of the University of Amsterdam, Secretariat, Singel 425, 1012 WP Amsterdam, The Netherlands. You will be contacted as soon as possible.