To Make My Name Good: A Reexamination of the Southern Kwakiutl Potlatch

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Author: Drucker, Philip (1911-1982) and Robert Fleming Heizer

Year: 1967

Publisher: University of California Press

Place: Berkeley


160 pages with bibliography and index. Royal octavo (9 1/2" x 6 1/2") issued in light brown with dark brown lettering to spine in original pictorial jacket. Errata laid in. First edition.

In this new interpretation of that often misunderstood phenomenon, the Southern Kwakiutl potlatch, hitherto unpublished field data that were collected in 1937 and 1953 enable the authors to take a fresh look at the operational mechanisms of potlatch. Until a generations ago the social life of the Kwakiutl and other Indian tribes of the Northwest Pacific coast centered on the institution of the potlatch. A lavish feast, it purpose was to confirm or validate hereditary status - not create it - and thereby to bind together kinship groups, the basic units of Kwakiutl society. As a meas of distributing wealth and repaying debts, the potlatch was central to economic life as well. Much misinterpretation of the potlatch exists. Even scholars have tended toward excessive concern with its more dramatic and extravagant elements. the authors of this work, drawing on the assistance of two exceptionally qualified informants, attempt to place the institution in proper perspective and thus to correct long-held misconceptions. The undertake a critical review of the theories of the function, operation and nature of the potlatch and, in the absence of documentary or archaeological evidence, speculate on its origins. Their findings should interest not only anthropologists but other social scientists as well.


Jacket price clipped and lightly soiled. A very good copy in like jacket.

SOLD 2020

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