Motu - Sociopolitical Organization

Although there are perceived to be specific historical links Between certain Motu villages, traditionally all villages were Politically independent and there was no formal sociopolitical organization above the village level.

Social Organization. Normally, the senior married male agnate is recognized within an iduhu as its leader, and within a household as its head, and the status of other male Members is determined by genealogical seniority both between and within generations. At the village level, there was Traditionally no formal status hierarchy, but prominent men, for the most part iduhu leaders, competed for status and influence through the sponsorship and management of enterprises that conferred prestige, such as hiri expeditions, feasts with dancing, bride-wealth payments, and (in precolonial times) feats of military leadership. Nowadays, in the cash economy, Motu men of outstanding achievement seek—through bride-wealth payments, hospitality, and other forms of conspicuous consumption—to convert wealth into status, influence, and, ultimately, public office.

Political Organization. Political decisions at the village level were traditionally achieved and maintained through public debate, in which political leaders (big-men) used a rhetoric invoking their superior achievements and prestige, which in turn reflected the range and size of their support networks, to "shame" other participants out of contention until a clear victor or a winning consensus emerged. In the modern postindependence polity, important decisions affecting the Motu are made by politicians who build on local support to pursue power through formal organizations (including Political parties) and informal alliances, all operating within a wider structure of democratically elected local, regional, and national legislatures and their supporting bureaucracies.

Conflict. At the village level, competition and conflict were endemic and essential features of the traditional Motu way of life: ultimately, victory over their rivals in the rhetoric of the political arena motivated individuals and groups to work, compete, and achieve to their maximum capacity. Victory was never complete, defeat rarely absolute; the pursuit of advantage was never-ending. Consensus—or, in its absence and as a last resort, physical confrontation—might temporarily give victory in a dispute to one party over the other, and the loser might offer a gift to placate the winner for the time being, but most losers withdrew only to fight again another day. Beyond the village, oral traditions and early historical Records suggest that Motu engaged in warfare or conducted raids intermittently against other neighboring peoples and even sometimes against other Motu villages. Such warfare, endemic in this area, was eventually suppressed by the British administration after its establishment in 1884.

Social Control. Within the iduhu, traditionally, social control was usually maintained and conflict avoided or resolved through the exercise of agnatic authority, supported by ancestral ritual sanctions.

Also read article about Motu from Wikipedia

User Contributions:

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