The "Private(s)" Is(Are) Political: Girding One’s Loins for Work, for Battle, for Provocation, and Ungirding for Insurgence
Many societies archaeologists seek to understand are societies of primary orality. They are "lifeworlds" of primary subsistence. Their study demands a multiplicity of approaches. Certainly one needs a sensitive yet hardy material gaze (and touch). Further, one should seek sensuous engagement in subsistence and celebration. Additionally, one should cultivate an incitement to imagine how the poetic and philosophical, of both reflective thought and of speech, are anchored in the material experiences of the quotidian and the exceptional.
Engaging in the challenges announced above, we discuss the Malagasy loincloth/salaka not only as an icon, index and symbol, but also as "matter" that mattered in the state politics of the Malagasy highlands.The salaka serves/ed as an icon of masculinity and of legitimate claim to rule, and as an Index of age, nobility, and "shame". It further served as a political symbol of incitement to competitive engagement. Yet, it also served as physical material in rebellion against imposed political authority and consequently as a symbol of cleverness/ruse in such contestation.
Our discussion draws on archaeological evidence and recorded oral traditions from the time of 18th century "state" formation in central Madagascar, and from recent ethnoarchaeological fieldwork in the central highlands of Madagascar.
Cite this Record
The "Private(s)" Is(Are) Political: Girding One’s Loins for Work, for Battle, for Provocation, and Ungirding for Insurgence. Susan Kus, Victor Raharijaona. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 444185)
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Abstract Id(s): 20710