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FROM SUGAR CANE TO ‘SWORDS’: HOPE AND THE EXTENSIBILITY OF THE GIFT IN FIJI

Authors


Department of Anthropology, Cornell University, 226 McGraw Hall, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA. hm67@cornell.edu

Abstract

Hope has recently emerged as an important subject of inquiry in anthropology and social theory. This article examines the hope entailed in efforts to extend aspects of gift-giving to various other social and theoretical projects. I identify and contrast two different kinds of hope found in these efforts, which I will call ‘hope in an end’ and ‘hope in the means’. The discussion focuses on two extensions of indigenous Fijian gift-giving: John D. Kelly and Martha Kaplan's recent analysis of Indo-Fijian sugar cane farmers’‘gift’ of cane to an indigenous Fijian high chief in 1944; and the Fiji government Ministry of Tourism's efforts in the mid-1990s to train indigenous Fijian souvenir traders in a properly ‘Fijian’ manner of engagement with tourists. With this contrast, I argue that ‘hope in an end’ occludes ‘hope in the means’.

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