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The creation of value: Terra matta in anthropological perspective

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Comparison is a basic strategy in anthropology for analysing social and cultural organisation and for revealing similarities and differences by unexpected juxtapositions. Here I use it in two ways. First, by treating Terra matta as a cultural valuable, I explore how its value, history and mythology are created in the course of its passage through different hands, taking the classic ethnography of the kula as a model. Second, I compare Vincenzo Rabito's original typescript with surviving fragments of his other writings to suggest that Terra matta is an even more remarkable creation than we have hitherto taken it to be.
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Keywords: Terra matta, Vincenzo Rabito, anthropology, cultural valuable, domestic mode of literary production, grammar of legibility

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Australian National University,

Publication date: May 27, 2014

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