Nasioi - Sociopolitical Organization

Social Organization. Even by the standards of south Bougainville, traditional Nasioi life seems to have been relatively egalitarian. Women, on whom society depended for subsistence and the continuity of the clan, exercised considerable influence, especially in such matters as marriage arrangements. One of the problems in modern Nasioi life is the conflict between the ideal of balance and equivalence in society with the formation of strata based on differences of wealth and education.

Political Organization. A pattern of small, scattered settlements characterized Nasioi life before colonization and is correlated with political atomism. The typical Melanesian role of big-man thus took a very modest form among Nasioi. A Nasioi oboring (big-man) established his position by industry, generosity, and wisdom, but he remained a person of influence, not authority. The status of oboring was achieved by giving feasts, and it was not normally inherited. Today, when many Pacific Islanders are eager to "reinvent tradition," Nasioi claim that "paramount chiefs" were customary, although early published accounts and informants' reports dating from 1962 contradict this. Because of their post-World War II discontent with the social changes brought about by colonialism and subsequent political and economic developments, Nasioi have for the past forty years been especially vocal in demanding Bougainville's succession, first from the Trust Territory of New Guinea and now from the independent nation of Papua New Guinea. As of August 1990, the Nasioi-led "Bougainville Revolutionary Army" claims authority over the entire island.

Social Control. The oboring might use his influence to settle disputes in his locality, but he had no real authority to do so. Public opinion and shaming also encouraged conformity, and a victim might destroy his or her own property to show chagrin and to rally the support of others. However, the most effective form of social control before colonialism seems to have been the fear of sorcery that could be performed against anyone who committed an offense. Nasioi opposition to Australian colonial authority in the 1960s and 1970s left a vacuum in social control, and intergenerational conflict today seems to be increasing.

Conflict. Perhaps because of abundant land, genuine warfare does not seem to have been characteristic of traditional Nasioi life. Violent conflict more often took the form of individual homicide and revenge. Once a single act had been "balanced" by another or by material compensation, the affair was considered over, that is, Nasioi did not feud. Today the peaceable practices of the Nasioi are being altered by contact with the more violent customs of other Papua New Guineans; the recent level of organized violence in Nasioi is unprecedented.

User Contributions:

Leonard Fong Roka
Can anyone let me know the various BRA commanders responsible for running of the BRA companies?

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