The Ethnology of the Greater Sunda Islands

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Infringements of customary law occur remarkably seldom in Iban society, because of the dread every person has of being cursed by someone he has injured. This fear operates particularly in cases of theft, which is consequently very infrequent. A liar is punished during his life and after death by an ingenious method called tugong bula. Soon after his dishonesty is discovered, the people begin to pile twigs and branches near the place where the offense occurred, and always thereafter all passers-by throw their contributions of sticks on the heap. Some of these "liars’ heaps" are very old, but the name of the offender is not forgotten, living on in perpetual disgrace as the name of his monument of shame.2

Among the Carib of South America, as reported by Gillin,

occasionally a member of a group acquires a reputation among his fellows as an undesirable character. He may repeatedly pilfer from others’ fields; he may trouble the women, be lazy, show himself ungenerous, constantly pick quarrels, or make himself obnoxious in other ways. The men of the settlement will talk to him but, if he does not improve his position in their eyes, he will be advised to leave on pain of having life made very unpleasant for him.

If he persists in remaining he will find that he and his family are social outcasts: they are not invited to drinking parties; he will be unable to borrow anything; he will get no help in hunting, fishing, field cutting, canoe building, or activities in which men assist one another, nor will his wife receive aid in her occupations; his household will be excluded from the water hole and bathing place. In short, he will lose all the advantages of group life. In aggravated cases the other men may beat him or even kill him if he fails to take the hint. Ostracism within the group and violence are, however, seldom necessary. Such a man with a vestige of common sense leaves the settlement while he can comfortably do so. I know of one man on the Barama who has been ejected from six settlements in this way, so that he has become a permanent outcast.1

2Kennedy, R.n/an/an/an/an/a, , 463–464 (manuscript).

1 Gillin, J., "Crime and Punishment among the Barama River Carib of British Guiana," Amer. Anth., N.S., 36: 343.

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Chicago: "The Ethnology of the Greater Sunda Islands," The Ethnology of the Greater Sunda Islands in Primitive Behavior: An Introduction to the Social Sciences, ed. Thomas, William I. (New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., 1937), Original Sources, accessed July 20, 2019, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=QKXLGTJPRI35WKZ.

MLA: . "The Ethnology of the Greater Sunda Islands." The Ethnology of the Greater Sunda Islands, in Primitive Behavior: An Introduction to the Social Sciences, edited by Thomas, William I., New York, McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., 1937, Original Sources. 20 Jul. 2019. www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=QKXLGTJPRI35WKZ.

Harvard: , 'The Ethnology of the Greater Sunda Islands' in The Ethnology of the Greater Sunda Islands. cited in 1937, Primitive Behavior: An Introduction to the Social Sciences, ed. , McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., New York. Original Sources, retrieved 20 July 2019, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=QKXLGTJPRI35WKZ.