Choiseul Island - Sociopolitical Organization

Political Organization. In the precolonial era law and politics were dominated by competition, and often violent conflict, between big-men who were at the centers of factions focused on their own little sinangge. These men were expected to protect their followers from external violence and to assist them in getting revenge or compensation; they sought military support from other big-men to whom they had to promise compensation in kesa presented ceremonially at a feast. A big-man's followers supported him in defensive and offensive action and by contributing to his ceremonial feasts.

Social Control. Aside from contractual relations established between big-men, and between big-men and some of their followers, the rights and duties of persons vis-à-vis one another were (and still are) mainly those entailed by kinship, and they were (and are) enforced mainly by expectations of reciprocity. Otherwise the only recourse was to self-help (in the extreme instance to take by stealth the life of the offending party) or to securing the aid or protection of a big-man.

Conflict. The precolonial history of Choiseul was dominated by violent conflict between big-men, or between contractual alliances of big-men, and their factions. This conflict often took the form of a group making a surprise attack at dawn on a village, burning its houses and killing all of its inhabitants who did not manage to escape. There was no taking of land or captives, though raiders from New Georgia to the south took heads for religious purposes.

Also read article about Choiseul Island from Wikipedia

User Contributions:

Comment about this article, ask questions, or add new information about this topic: