Moka Politics

In the textbook Anthropology: What Does it Mean to Be Human? we read chapter 12, “How do anthropologists study political relations?”:

This material was for Intro to Anthropology 2021 after reading about Economies.

We also watched the famous ethnographic film Ongka’s Big Moka. We used this film to tie together different sections of the course:

  1. Economics: What is the Moka system?
  2. Politics (this class): What authority does Ongka have? What is the relationship between the Kawelka and the nation-state of Papua New Guinea?
  3. Gender: How is the division of labor gendered?
  4. Kinship: How does kinship intersect with economics & politics?
  5. What evidence of colonialism or capitalism do you see?
  6. The film series is titled “Disappearing World.” Is Ongka’s world disappearing?

The next class was on Sex-Gender-Sexuality.


Living Anthropologically means documenting history, interconnection, and power during a time of global transformation. We need to care for others as we attempt to build a world together. This blog is a personal project of Jason Antrosio, author of Fast, Easy, and In Cash: Artisan Hardship and Hope in the Global Economy. For updates, subscribe to the YouTube channel or follow on Twitter.

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