When Leopold Pospíšil first arrived in New Guinea in 1954 to investigate the legal systems of the local tribes, he was warned about the Kapauku who reputedly had no laws. Dubious that any society could exist without laws, Pospíšil immediately decided to live among and study the Kapauku.Learning the language and living as a participant-observer among the Kapauku, Pospíšil discovers that the supposedly primitive society possesses laws, rules, and social structures that are as sophisticated as they are logical. Having survived the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia and fled the Communist regime, Pospíšil has little patience for the notion that so-called advanced civilizations are superior to the ‘stone age’ society in which he now lives.On the basis of his research and experiences among the Kapauku – he would stay with them five times between 1954 and 1979 – Pospíšil pioneered in the field of legal anthropology, holding a professorship at Yale, serving as the anthropology curator of the Peabody Museum of Natural History, and publishing three books of scholarship on the Kapauku law. As Jaroslav Jiřík and Martin Soukup write in their afterword, however, “His three previously published works are about the Kapauku; this one is about the anthropologist among the Kapauku.”The memoir is filled with charming anecdotes and thrilling stories of trials, travels, and war – told with humor and humility—and accompanied by a wealth of the author’s personal photos from the time..
Note on the Title /7 How I Became an Anthropologist /9 Language /34 Data Gathering /46 The Participant Observer /71 Membership /92 Collecting /99 Non-horticultural Food /102 Gathering /102 Fishing /103 Hunting /104 // Kapauku Culture and the Concept of "Primitive Societyâ€ť /116 Kapauku Personality /120 Kapauku Mathematics /132 Quantity Obsession /138 Economy Ceremonies /143 Life Cycle Ceremonies /154 Birth Ceremony /154 Death Ceremony /155 Marriage /159 Law /166 // Innovations in My Theory of Law /166 Two Kapauku Legal Cases /168 // Theft of Pigs and Embezzlement /175 Rape and Adultery /177 Overview of Kapauku Law /181 War /183 // Two Wars Witnessed /185 Aftermath /189 // Magic and Religion /193 Religion /199 Tabooed Mt. Deijai /203 Health, Sickness and Medicine /208 // Changes Introduced by the Encroaching Western World /219 Wege Bagee /245 // My Research and the Dutch Administration /249 Departure from the Kamu Valley /263 // Afterword: Leopold Pospíšil, Anthropology and the Kapauku /270 References for Afterword /283 Bibliography /284 Index /287