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CHILDREN IN BETWEEN: FOSTERING AND THE PROCESS OF KINSHIP ON PULAU LANGKAWI, MALAYSIA

JANET CARSTEN

University ofManchester

in and through the conceptionand nurturance This article analyses the way kinship is created of children amongst Malays on the islandof Langkawi.In Langkawiideas about co-eatingand These ideas are in the house are as fundamental to kinship as are ideas aboutprocreation. sharing within theunity of children from withsiblingship, particularly associated representing originating in one house. Yet children livesbetween mediators spendmuchof their houses,and are important clearin widespread betweenthem.This mediating role is especially exchanges fostering arrangeconcerned withtheconversion ofthesearrangements showsthat ments. Analysis theyarecentrally ofaffinal intoconsanguineal betweenco-parents-in-law. links, andwiththemaintenance ofequality Thus children represent pointsoftransformation betweentwo contrary images ofcommunity, one of exchangebetweenhouses.In their based on the unity of the house,the otheron theplurality and their children of kinship. growth movement, embodytheprocess

In thisarticle I analyse thecultural construction of kinship amongMalayson the island ofLangkawi. Amongst these Malays ideassurrounding co-eating andsharing are as fundamental forkinship as are ideas about procreation. And both eating and sharedconsumption together moregenerally are intimately bound up with In fact, notionsof siblingship. siblingship is in manywaysmoreelaborated than 1 filiation. In orderto analyse thespecific meaning ofkinship in Langkawi I shallfocuson ideasaboutchildren: whereand withwhomthey liveand thewaysin whichthey kin.I shallarguethat in Langkawi become relatedness is notgivenat birth. Kinship can be viewedas a processof becoming, a complexof and thisprocessinvolves in one house. The processof kinship ideaswhichcentre on shared consumption - as long as people consumetogether continues childhoodand adulthood during in houses. Kinshipin Langkawi involves thesharing ofsubstance. This substance maybe in the form injectedat conception of seed, benih,from the father which is then in theuterus. nourished byblood, darah,from themother during gestation But it In fact,the acquisition nurturance. of substance may also be acquiredthrough nurturance be more significant through can, in certain circumstances, thanthat injectedat conception.Kinshipmaybeginwithsomething you are bornwith, butitmaynot.Thatis,itis subject to change.As you grow,you acquireit.Eating together implieshavingblood in common.One becomesrelated to the people
Man (N.S.) 26, 425-443

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withwhom one shares And thesemayor maynotbe one's genetic consumption. kin. In other one is bornwithblood, one's blood also becomes. words, although inthecourse isacquired The substance ofkinship ofchildhood through developing in thehouse. socialrelations I willfocushereon notions aboutchildren and fostering to show arrangements ofkinship and community how thesearticulate and reflect moregeneral concepts in Langkawi.I will arguethatthereis a sensein which,from themomentthey in Langkawi can be viewedas foster children.2 This are born,all Malay children theway theyare attached at birth not onlyto their but occursthrough parents, also to their and through theseto members of the community at grandparents, simultaneous to both theirparents of children's filiation large.The significance can onlybe grasped, an understanding and their grandparents however, through in thissociety.In particular, of kinship it is necessary of the widermeanings to examinenotionsabout houses,consumption and siblingship and the way these are linkedtogether.3 The islandofLangkawiis situated off thewestcoastof Malaysiaand adminisofKedah. It shouldbe emphasized forms ofthestate that tratively part Langkawi's both todayand in thepast,has been rather mobile.Historically, the population, island seemsto havebeen a kindof'refuge area' forpeasants evading warfare and orsimply andlandshortage theeffects corveelabourdemands, suffering ofpoverty on the mainland. are connectedby kin tiesto the mainland; Many inhabitants who have come as migrants to the island,or have manyhave recentascendants done so. themselves I would suggest thatthe remarkable flexibility of notionsof kinship which I will describe in thisarticle can be linkedto thismobility of population.Communities werenotnecessarily stable butwerecapableofabsorbing and connecting Both popunewcomers to a highdegree, and fostering. largely through marriage lationmobility and the extreme of bilateral malleability kinship are, however, And it is in thiscontext thatfostering rather typical of Southeast Asia in general. becomessignificant. The villagein which I conductedfieldwork has a populationof about three divided namedhamlets. The chief sourceofcashincome thousand, amongseveral is fishing, and almostall men are involvedin thiscommercialised activity. Subsistence rice cultivation an which is base provides important agricultural largely in thehandsofwomen. butby no meansexclusively Thehouse The househasa fundamental as it does in many structural significance forMalays, Southeast Asian societies.Some implications of thisemphasis on the house in SoutheastAsia have recently been exploredby, amongstothers,Levi-Strauss the factthathousesconstitute a central feature of social (1984).4 To underline in thesesocieties, has used the phrasesocietes Levi-Strauss a maison, organisation house-based to describe them. societies, embodiedby the house in Langkawiis Perhapsthe mostimportant principle in a number that ofunity and resistance to division. is expressed Householdunity in the spatialarrangements of ways. It is reflected of the house which show a minimum of division.In particular, housesneverhave more thanone hearth,

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in one house,they dapur. Howevermanycouplesreside together cook and always eat full This commensality meals,ofwhichriceis a mainconstituent, together. is a primefocusof whatit meansto be of one household.Food, especially in the form of rice meals,becomesblood. To a greatextent sharedcookingand concreate theshared substance that isattheheart andco-residence. sumption ofkinship Another istheclosebondthat should reflection ofhousehold exist between unity siblings. Disputesbetweenadultsiblings arealways and partichighly threatening ularly disruptive whenthey occur.Such disputes are especially to ariseover likely the division of householdproperty and generally through have farinheritance, reaching consequences for those involved. One indication ofthis isthat thedivision of property tendsto be deferred untillong after the deathof an original owner, resident descendants inhabiting andfarming landin commonuntil a disagreement makestheinitiation of formal inheritance unavoidable.5 procedures The fact that arestrongly with siblings associated theunity of thehouseresults in a paradox.Marriedsiblings neverco-reside, and thisis explicitly in orderto avoid disputes betweenthem.It is an attempt to avoid any conflict of interests thatmight arisebetweensiblings theirobligations to theirspousesand through children. morethan Although allother ofkin,represent siblings, housecategories hold unity(forit is the sibling in groupwhichis conceivedas havingitsorigins one house),harmony within a groupof married and sisters brothers can onlybe achievedthrough in separate their residence houses. The importance ofunity amongsiblings is reflected in a number ofother ways. Siblings are expectedto render each otheraid and remain close throughout life, and thisis especially clearin thewarm, affectionate relations thatobtainbetween adultsisters. One aspectof thestress on siblingship is itsunique capacity, within the fieldof close consanguineal to accommodateboth equalityand relations, hierarchy. Equalitytendsto prevailwhen differences of age are slightwhile hierarchical modes of interaction are more apparent between siblings widely separated by age. The birth orderof a groupof siblings is thusalwayssignificant. This is ritually in rules expressed governing marriage whichideally shouldtakeplacein theorder of birthof siblings, and this is particularly important between sisters. The in-marrying husbandwho disrupts the naturalorder of the siblinggroup by a woman whose olderbrother marrying or sister is stillunwed is said to 'stride over thethreshold', bendul. This phrase langkah thatthehusband in such implies casesis viewedas violating theintegrity ofthehouseitself, and he incurs a ritual fine. arelooselyendogamous, Marriages this notionbeingbasedas muchon locality as on kinship. New housesarenotestablished at marriage. At thisstageresidence israther mobile.Villagers laygreat emphasis on itsuncertainty andunpredictability, the existence of explicitly denying rulesgoverning This post-marital residence. can be connected witha moregeneral to accordpriorrights unwillingness over a youngcoupletoeither thewife's orthehusband's kinina context wheremarriage is conceivedas occurring betweenparties of equal status. The generalpattern, is that however, a couplecommutes initially between thetwoparental households, spending periods ofvarying in each.Thisis followed length byan uxorilocal phase until lasting a couple hasone or two children. A first childshouldalways be bom

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It is onlyafter in thehouse of thematernal thisthata new house grandmother. moreoften in thehusband's thanthewife'snatalcompound. will be established, ofa younger to avoid thenecessity Oftenthisoccurspriorto themarriage sibling forco-residence. andhouses Children The association and thehousein whichtheyoriginate is betweena setofsiblings Each childbelongsto a setof'symbolic at thetimeofbirth. maderitually siblings' birth. The childand theplacenta, areconceptualised whoseexistence precedes uri, dua beradik. When a childis bom the afterbirth, conceived as 'two siblings', uri, as the youngersibling, is washedand placed in a woven baskettogether with in the It is thenburiedby thefather bidan. variousritual objectsby themidwife, whichrecalls theburialof human of thehouse compoundin a manner grounds in thegraveyard. thevillage outside Similar beliefs andpractices havebeen corpses in Southeast recorded widelyelsewhere Asia6and can be relatedto a complex whichhas recently cosmology been explored by Headley (1983; 1987a; 1987b). hereis theway that thesibling What I would stress is physically set,in thisritual, anchored to thehouse. Siblingship thus asserts itselfin thewombanditcontinues to influence a person's life.The uterus fortunes itself as thesiblings' throughout first maybe considered house.7Houses thatare occupiedafter children are bornmerely createa weaker form ofsiblingship in thewomb.The very thanthat created notionofpersonhood can be saidto involvetherelation ofsiblingship sinceeven an onlychild- highly - hasitssymbolic undesired sibling. Although anindividual maylackorbe separated she or he is stillpartof a sibling from humansiblings set whose othermembers affect hisor herwell-being. closely It is notablethatwhen villagers are getting to know a stranger one of thefirst and sisters he or she has. The form of questions theyask is how manybrothers thisquestionin Malay ('how manysiblings areyou?', rather than 'how many have theindivisibility ofthe set.Thissameprinciple siblings you?')underlines sibling is expressed in naming forsiblings their systems whichbothemphasize similarity and thattheyconstitute a completeset.8Individuality, then,is alwayshighly it is veryclearthatthissibling setis closely qualified bysiblingship. Furthermore, withthehousewhichgivesitlife.Parallel to a stress associated on thehousethere on siblingship and thesetwo concepts are directly linked. is, then,a stress The close association betweenchildren to the and the house is not confined level. I have described how new domestic unitsare onlyfounded after symbolic ofchildren thebirth ofchildren. Thisis one aspect ofa very stress on thebirth great in marriage. Duringtheir tendto be unstable. early years particularly, marriages in divorce. ofbothsexesarehighly Children andinfertility desired, maywellresult The birth ofchildren it also marks theattainment of full adult stabilises marriage; children status whereas without does not. marriage The birth a of a first house signals childwhichoccursin a woman'smother's witha complexof ritual and is surrounded verysignificant changein herstatus, in detailhere.In theforty whichI willnot discuss the procedures daysfollowing birth ofanychildthemother andnewbominfant areparticularly associated closely not onlywith the house where theyare confined, but also with the symbolic

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The conclusion of the house,the dapur, or kitchen. of thisperiod centre hearth - thedapur - performed of thespace of seclusion is marked by a ritual cleansing from at theendofwhichthemother andchilddescend thehouse. by themidwife, thebaby'sfeet aremade to touchtheground at thebase In a ritual ofattachment, and itis thencarried aroundtheoutside ofthebuilding of thehouseladder, three remember itshouse of origin. timesso thatit shouldalways Beforechildren leam to walkitis normal forthemto spendmostoftheir time inside thehouse.I havedescribed howcommensality isa central ofhousehold aspect creates theshared substance of close consanguinity. This is most unity: co-eating in betweentwo adultswho have drunk clearly expressed the factthatmarriage milkof the same woman is prohibited.9 milkis a formof blood, and Maternal are thought to sharesubstance to a particularly siblings highdegreebecausethey thesame mother. The mother's milkis conceivedas the have drunkmilkfrom source of the powerful Rice emotionalbond betweenher and her children.10 meals,too, are a source of blood. Throughoutchildhoodstress is laid on the propriety of children eatingfullricemealsin the house wheretheyreside.The behaviourof children who frequently eat such mealsin the housesof others is remarked of adultmembers upon and reflects badlyon the repUtations of their Even more thanadults, own households. children may,however,acceptsnacks in otherhouses.These can be defined as food whichdoes not includesteamed rice as itsmainconstituent, a fullmeal nor properfood and is therefore neither in Malay terms. As children growolderand spendlesstimewithin thehouse,their association withhousesbecomes more focusedon eatingand sleeping. At nightfall, when malevolent arebelieved spirits tobe most likely toattack, itisparticularly important to return home.Withcertain forchildren whichI willdiscuss exceptions below, children do not normally sleepin houseswherethey are not resident. I have described theclose association betweenchildren and thehouse,particbetweenthesibling ularly groupand thehousefrom whichit originates. It might ifindividuals be saidthat arein mnany as inseparable contexts conceptualised from their sibling groups, housesare theembodiments of suchsibling sets. There is, however,a paradoxhere.No visitor to the villagecould failto be struck to whichchildren bytheextent arepresent outside houses, and correspondfromthe interior inglyabsentduringthe daytime of houses. If the identity of housesis so intimately bound up withthechildren thatconstitute thereasonfor their how is it thatthesesamechildren are so little present within establishment, In whatfollows, them? I shalladdress thisparadox. Children between houses Once they havelearnt to walk,children outside hours spendmostoftheir daytime the house. Pre-schoolchildren playwiththeirage-mates in the space between within thecompound.After houses, usually they beginto attend school,children arenecessarily in themornings, absent in theKoranwill and religious instruction occupythemforseveral aftemoons a week outsidethehome. Duringtheseyears children stilltendto playoutsidethehouse rather thaninside,although in adolescencethisis lesstrueof girls thanofboys.

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their from there isa further dimension to children's Apart playandstudy, absence in negative fromthe house which can be seen not merely terms, but as giving thema positive houses.Children arethemostfrequent presence between mediators betweenhouses.They are thevehiclesof messages, and itemsof exchange. gifts It is children who are sentby women withthe dishesof cooked food and raw in thesharing so prominently related producewhichfigure amongclosely houses ofthewiderneighbourhood. ofone compoundandalsoin thereciprocal relations to rotating Childrenoftencollectthe monetary contributions credit societies in the neighbourhood. which women organise They are sentto the shopsfor and maytakecakeswhichwomen make at home to the local coffee purchases, for words houses. sale.Children alsodeliver between Whenrelations between shops between two housesaretensechildren maybe theonlymeansofcommunication withotherhouses.Children them.They are thelastfinally to severconnexions role in moreformal On such occasionschildren also playan important visiting. made muchof,and almost are greeted withevident delight, always givenmoney as well as snacks by their hosts.There are manysenses, then,in whichchildren in the widercommunity. can be seen as embodying And in exchangerelations thisconnexionit is significant thattheyare so clearly with itemsof associated in particular withmoney. exchange, There is, however,one formof visiting fromwhich theyare almosttotally excluded.These arevisits to thesickand visits to thedead. Villagers are strongly of thecommunity who is ill,or who enjoinedto visitthehouse of anymember has died and is awaiting burial.Such visits takeplace withextreme formality and withotherforms contrast ofvisiting in thatthey strongly involvea minimisation in ofall forms of exchange. Thereis little conversation and thevisit is conducted snacks arenotnecessarily isquietandsubdued. hushed tones; theatmosphere served; In marked to other contrast children arenotwelcomedat theseevents. occasions, at the ketiduri, or communal an occasionreplete withmany By contrast, feast, different forms At the kenduri of exchange,children rules figure proninently. domestic Men cook outsidehouses, governing cookingand eatingare inverted. and men,women and children eat separately. The mostfrequent and elaborate kenduri areheldto celebrate anditis appropriate that these areoccasions marriages, at which the ties within domesticunits,whetherconsanguineal or affinal, are and between ofdifferent kinds offoodwith suspended exchanges them, particularly different are enmphasized. symbolic associations, at theseevents aremenand womenwho are Manyoftheprincipal participants and theyoften grandparents, bringa grandchild along. These children together form an undifferentiated from their as ifto groupand eatseparately grandparents, a community create ofgrandchildren Suchan imageofcommunity bythemselves. as one of sharedgrandchildren and I shallreturn is highly to it in my significant conclusion. I lhave of described how children embodyboththeclose consanguineal unity thehouse and theexchange whichoften seem relations betweenthem, relations to be disruptive of, and opposed to, the unityof the household.Both marital relations and the conmmercial unstable and are thought tiesof fishing are highly liable to cause disputes betweenclose kin. The central ambivalence surrounding children is nowheremoreclearly captured thanin institutions of fostering.

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Fostering

The majority of children live with theirparents frombirthuntil they have their education.Many continueto residein theparental completed home until after they havemarried. At thetimeofmyfieldwork, aboutone quarter however, of all minors in thevillagewere notliving withboththeir conception parents.11 The fostering ofchildren covers a number ofdifferent arrangements whichmay or maynotbe terminologically from each other. The simultaneous distinguished of drawingor erasing possibility distinctions betweenconceptionchildren and different kindsof foster children the way affinal parallels relatives can be both conflated with,and distinguished from, ones (see below). Such consanguineal are alwaysconceivedin a highly distinctions manner. ambiguous A foster child,anakangkat,12 mayhavelivedfrom birth to theage ofseventeen withherfoster or have spent a fewyears parents, withthem;theterm maycover a university student who stays witha family fortwo weeks or an anthropologist who arrives fortwo years. Nor do different terms existfora foster childwho has no rights of inheritance fromhis or her foster parents and one who has been formally adopted.13 Ideally,thereis a sense in which different kindsof foster children shouldnotbe terminologically or behaviourally distinguished from each other;likewise, thereis a strong ideally, idea thatan anakangkat shouldnot be distinguished from a conception childalthough, in practice, suchdistinctions can be significant. For thepurposes of theanalysis presented hereit is possibleto dividechildren not livingwithboth conceptionparents into two categories: first, thoseliving witha divorcedor widowed parent who, in about one in two cases,had subsequently remarried; secondly, children beingbrought up by a couple in which neither partner was theconception parent.14 In thelatter category villagers themselvesoften makea further distinction betweenfostering a childand bringing up the childof a close relative. Not infrequently, children residemore or lessperin thehouseofa closerelative. manently Such residence varies in duration: itmay endureformostofa childhood, fora fewmonths or forsomeyears; itmaybegin when the childis a babyor when he or she is already an adolescent. It mayor maynotinvolve visits ofvarying duration andfrequency to theparental household. When a couplebring up their grandchild or a younger sibling they usually do not refer to thechildas an anakangkat, foster child, butrather saythey are 'caring for', or 'bringing up' thechild,and specify thekinrelation involved.In thesecasesthe childusesappropriate kinterms fortheserelatives, whereas an anakangkat always usesparental terms of address and reference forheror hisfoster parents. In fact, an anakangkat is notnecessarily unrelated to herfoster parents although the connection in thesecasestendsto be rather distant. In the greatmajority of is a distant cases,ifthere kinconnexionit is through thefoster mother. The considerable, and oftenambiguous, blurring betweenthesecategories is mirrored on theaffective plain.Indeed,an attenuated or non-existent genetic link mayeven be 'compensated' by a strong emotional one. It is considered normal fora transferred childto love thosewho bringit up more thanits conception parents. Such children arealso considered theobviousfavourites oftheir adoptive parents. Butitisnotonly affection that isacquired through living together. Children transferred from a youngage are presumed to takeon thephysical attributes of

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their in thesamewaythat adoptive parents, comingto look likethem, conception children do. The causeswhichprecipitate fostering bydistant kinor non-relatives arealmost alwaysdeathof one or bothparents or their divorce.Fromthepointof view of thefoster parents, bringing up another person'schildconfers merit and prestige. is a meansof avoiding Fostering divorcein casesofinfertile marriages; it can also an imbalance in thesex ratioof children correct in accordance withtheideal of havingroughly equal numbers ofboysand girls. In thecase ofdivorceor deathofone parent a childmaybe brought up by the other butthefather neverhassole careofthechild.He can onlycontinue parent, if he lives with at leastone femalerelative to look after his children or if he remarries. By contrast, widowedor divorced womenmaybring up their children evenifthey liveindependently. Thereis a general reluctance toputchildren under thecareof a step-mother who is regarded as potentially malevolent. ofclosekinthat Categories areparticularly favoured forlookingafter children, in orderof preference, are grandparents, older sisters, and sisters of eitherthe or father ofthechild.Roughlyequal numbers mother andmalechildren offemale are brought The reasons up by theirclose kin.15 fora childbeing caredforby closekinareoften as whena couple havea largenumber practical, ofchildren or when they areso closein age that their is overburdened mother withwork.This is particularly likelyif thesekin have no youngchildren of theirown. In such an oldersibling cases,when a babyis bom it is generally who goes to the home ofrelatives. children areoften Although caredforbygrandparents, oldersisters or auntsand uncles,villagers alwaysemphatically denythatthesekin have absolute to a child,even iftheyare childless. rights On the contrary, people saytheyare malu(embarrassed, to givea childaway,that shouldhavean excuse ashamed) they fordoingso. Ifa childis givento close relatives theshameinvolvedis obviated. The grandparents on eitherside and a mother'ssister are regarded as having claimsto a childiftheythemselves have no youngchildren. particularly strong In general, stress thevoluntary of fostering overthe however, villagers aspects have priority ones. The rights of parents to theirown children over obligatory claim.It is onlyonce a couplehavethree or four thedesire children that anyother of one partner's fora grandchild, sister who is childless, parents or of a married would be takenseriously do not accordpriorrights intoaccount.Informants to either the husband's or the wife'skin,but tiesthrough women are regarded as the mostfrequently Thus after cited being emotionally stronger. grandparents, forthisrole is the child'smother's sister.16 preferred relative This, as McKinley the emphasis on (1975; 1981) has forcefully argued,can be seen as reflecting - in Langkawi In this is especially truebetweensisters. closeness betweensiblings I would suggest makebetweenlookingafter that thedistinction general, villagers kin relates the children and fostering non-relatives or distant to of close relatives with the categories of the ideologicalimportance valuesassociated and specific and grandparents. close kinmostfrequently involved, especially siblings in The affective oftiesthrough strength women,whichis physically expressed ofa woman'sfirst uxorilocal residence at thetimeofthebirth child,thusreceives tieto hisor herfoster mother in fostering. A child'semotional further expression is realised in co-residence. theco-substantiality ofkinship If,as I have suggested,

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islargely created through shared consumption, then, through cookingandfeeding, The acquisition of substance women playa decisiverolein thiscreative process. in theuterus as thechildacquires blood from withfeeding after conception begins of breast milkand cooked itsmother. The processcontinues withtheprovision food,but thesemay or may not be acquiredfromthe conceptionmother.In kinwho, ideally, conare undifferentiated from constituting themselves as foster create thelocusfor this ception kin,womenactually kinship. Theyprovide shared andemotional itsmaterial content.17 consumption totake placeaswellasfumishing in terms The residence ofchildren is often talked aboutbyvillagers reminiscent In severalcaseswherechildren were livingwiththeir of post-marital residence. I was toldthatthiswas 'not fixed'or certain, and thatthe grandparents taktentu, childwas alternating betweenthe parental home and thatof the grandparents. This alternation is described usingthesametermas thatused forthealternation betweenthetwoparental homesin thefirst phaseofmarried life, berulang (literally, repeated action).Greatemphasis is always placedon thechild'sown wishes.I was frequently toldthat withgrandparents, there was no reason fora childto be living she or he simply to do so, or was 'following his/her own wishes',ikut preferred sukadia. Followingtheindividual wishesof a childis, of course,another way of are seen as intrinsically the uncertainty of residence, sincesuch desires stressing In this andcontingent ofa child's residence unpredictable. waythevoluntary aspects are emphasized. However,theamountof attention paid to thewishesof a child in theory thanin practice. The reasons forthis relate to thecrucial maybe greater roleplayedby children as mediators betweenaffines. Children between affines At this pointitbecomesclearthat fostering cannot be understood in isolation from other in particular, exchanges involving thetransfer ofpersons, that ofmarriage.28 I havedescribed in Langkawi how marriage is conceivedas taking place between thoseof equal status and involves great uncertainty overtheresidence ofa newly married couple,who in fact are rather mobilein thefirst phaseofmarried life. In many waystheequality on whichmarriage is premissed maybe saidto focus on therelation between bisan. co-parents-in-law, Bisan visit eachother's constantly housesand are engagedin a complexweb of exchanges involving food,labour, services andloans.These exchanges do not,in fact, takeplacebetween necessarily theactualbisan but theyare usually as iftheydid,and thisis indicative described ofthespecialsignificance withwhichthis relation is invested. Bisanarefrequently calledupon during for riceharvesting, workin thevegetable housebuildgardens, loansofcashorequipment. ofcooked ing,for Theysendeachother gifts, especially food and of raw produce.Apartfrom immediate neighbours, theyare oftenthe in each other's mostfrequent visitors houses.A highvalueis placedon reciprocity in theseexchanges. to give assistance is a frequent Neglectof obligations source of bitterness, and suchgrudges maybe brought up muchlaterin a dispute. The mutual assistance supplied by bisan is broadly ofthesamekindas that given to close kinor immediate but there is a difference. This has to do in neighbours, on reciprocity In the case of kin and partwiththeemphasis already mentioned. there is a greater neighbours tolerance ofimbalance in theshort term. Following from theexchanges this, betweenbisan not onlyoccurwithgreat frequency, but

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are also particularly marked. They receiveconstant attention in behaviour and in speech, whilethose between closekinandneighbours tendto be taken for granted. Nor is thereany otheraffinal relation thatreceivesthiskind of stress. On one level,then,it is as ifan attempt were beingmade to assimilate a bond of affinity this is beliedby the intotherealmofconsanguineal kinship. On another, attempt it and theimportance of oftheexchanges very emphasis receives, by theintensity reciprocity. It shouldbe emphasized herethat notions aboutaffinity simultaneously involve and a distinction This can be associated bothan elisionwith, from, consanguinity. withthevery loose form ofendogamy to whichI havealready referred. Marriage a notionwhichconflates shouldtakeplace betweenthosewho are 'close' (dekat), It may, kinship, locality, appearance and status. butdoes notnecessarily, takeplace affines are terminologically from betweenkin.Although consandistinguishable it is highly guinesby the use of an appropriate suffix, impoliteto make such withdisputes. whose use is principally associated In general, distinctions, affines use appropriate terms whenaddressing consanguineal kinship or referring to each Thus spouses and affinal other. shouldin theory be addressed siblings usingsibling and parents-in-law are addressed terms. terms, usingparental Bisan,however, constitute something ofan exception to thisrulein thatthere is one way in whichtheymayactually address each otherusingan affinal term. It is significant This is by calling each othertok bisan, 'grandparent bisan'. that this a termof consanguinity usage combines withone of affinity for, as will become can be seenas a pointwhere, in local conceptions, clear,'bisanship' consanguinity and affinity this form ofaddress drawattention merge. Furthermore, byusing they oftheir their commongrandto one of themostimportant constituents relation: children. arean important towards Responsibilities grandchildren aspectofgrandparents' whichalmost occurs lives.Theseresponsibilities beginwitha first pregnancy always In theseventh monthofpregnancy in thehouse of theyoungwoman'smother. are securedby the husband's mother the services of the villagemidwife, bidan, for ofthemidwife. The midwife hasjurisdiction over who is responsible payment in thecommunity. At childbirth all births women'sisolation from their mothers takeson responsibility and close kin is notable.It is significant thatthe midwife rather thanthemother of thechild. forthebirth on behalf of thegrandmothers of As the pregnancy advances,the husband'smotherbeginsto buy articles At the time of birthshe is forher grandchild. clothingand othernecessaries expectedto go to the house of her bisan againand to staythereforsome days. is at this marked before The crucial roleofthegrandmothers, already birth, point that'The honourof the first introduction confirmed. Wilkinsonobserves [the to midwife] givesto thechild'sgrandmothers' (1957: 41). The child'sattachment at thebirth itsgrandmothers is thusstressed itself. and at the birthof a child are The obligations performed during pregnancy in terms Women saythat theseduties are oftherelation betweenbisan. perceived antara bisan. the a 'responsibility betweenbisan', tanggungan They continueafter thefeast andservices ofthemidwife mother birth ofa child.The husband's paysfor birth. The ofthechild,cukor at-the timeof thefirst shaving anak,sevendaysafter relationbetween bisancontinuesto focus on the welfareof theircommon

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their grandchildren throughout childhood.Especially theirearly during years, it visitsto the home of her forthe femalebisanto make protracted is important in whichtheyoungcouple resides counterpart whenever a grandchild is sickor foranysocialoccasionconcemingthem. but thelatter Not onlyare grandparents expectedto visittheir grandchildren, the at intervals and often the there. alsovisit former frequent Once must stay night and their are normally again,wherethechildren resident withone setof parents thattheymakevisits to theotherset. it is particularly grandparents important moreoften I havedescribed how children arebrought than up bygrandparents from ofkinapart one setofgrandparents byanyother category parents. Veryoften in thisway when their residewithor in the bringup a grandchild counterparts same compoundas theyoungcouple and the restof their children. Once again thiscan be seenas a way ofbalancing theaffiliation ofa couple and their children to one setof parents. This becameparticularly clearto me during a dispute the members involving An agedcouplewho co-resided witha married households. and ofthree daughter herhusband faceda conflict betweentheir to their allegiance co-parents-in-law, who lived in a different and thatto the householdof a bisan, neighbourhood, If theycontinuedto maintain theirclose siblingand next door neighbour.19 withtheir Ifthey relations risked their affines. neighbours offended they offending theirbisantheyput at riskthe continuedresidenceof theirdaughter and her in their husband own house,and might welljeopardizethisdaughter's marriage. It was highly significant that their daughter's husband was thesole incomeearner ofthefamily. Eventually thecouplehad no optionbutto breakoff relations their withtheir neighbours. Members ofthese two households ceasedto interact in any way. At thesame time,and as ifto reinforce thisstatement of allegiance, a childof the resident daughter and herhusband was transferred to the husband's parents. At thetime, ofbothhouseholds members toldme that thiswas done becausethe child herself wanted to stayat her paternal grandparents' house. The child's behaviour, was not quitein accordance however, withtheir assertion. Forced to ally themselves with eithertheirclose neighbours and kin or the parents of their son-in-law, the seniorcouple had no choice but to breaktheir with the former relations in orderto secureboth the livelihoodof the whole and theirdaughter's family The transfer marriage. of a childat a timewhen all relations had reacheda crisis pointwas an extreme expression of thisallegiance. I would suggest thatthe 'gift ofa child'can in thissociety be seen as the 'supreme to use a term gift', Levi-Strauss has adoptedin a different context (1969: 65).20 I havealready referred totheproblems raised bytheaffiliation ofa newly married in a context couple to one or otherparental household wheretheequal status of thetwofamilies isstrongly stressed. Onlythegift ofachild cancorrect theimbalance created to thehousehold byaffiliation ofone setofparents, compensating theloss that one houseor theother incurs after marriage. Often, butbyno meansalways, thisinvolvesthe 'replacement' of a married daughter by a femalegrandchild. Villagers vigorously deny,however, thateither setof grandparents has rights to a grandchild, just as theydenyrulesofpost-marital residence. Not to do so would a superior imply claimon thepartof one side or theother.

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The 'sharing' ofcommongrandchildren is,then, a crucial element intherelation betweenbisan.21 theparticular People in Langkawioften stress closeness of bisan in commonthat and thatit is having grandchildren makesthemso. It is thusnot that ofaddress one oftheterms surprising they use,tok their bisan, emphasizes role It is through shared thatthe relation as co-grandparents. grandchildren between - one ofaffinity - is actually transformed intoone ofconsanguinity, bisan and this is explicitly emphasized byvillagers. This also explains of a first why thebirth childreceives such ritual attention. For not onlydoes the first childestablish the consanguineal in a new principle nuclearfamily (and couplesneverestablish a new householduntiltheyhave at leastone child),it also creates linkbetweenco-grandparents. the consanguineal whilethefirst child isherselfrarely Moreover, fostered, sheestablishes thepossibility forthefostering of subsequent children.22 inmany Exchanges between houses areconceived respects asexchanges between and thisis clearfrom thewaytheseexchanges are conducted bisan, and described by theparticipants. In other words, relations betweenhouseholds arebasedon an idea ofsymmetrical exchange betweenequals.Ifthese relations areconceptualised as relations betweenbisan, grandchildren areoften themeansbywhichtheselinks areactivated, their anda pathofmediation frequent focus, between these houses.23 Twoimages ofcommunity From the ethnography I have givenit is possibleto draw out two models of in Langkawi,and theseappearto be opposed to one another.In community sketching out these modelsI wouldstress that they constitute polarimages, neither ofwhichcan everbe wholly becauseeach implies a rigidity and fixity satisfactory thatis in factabsent. As I shallargue,it is alwayspossibleto move betweenthe two and to transform one intotheother, and this is an essential possibility partof thecreative of thissystem. dynamic The first modelisbasedon thehouseandon siblingship. united Persons through in common; theyare conceived as an theseties should ideallyhold property undividedgroup who shareconsumption. During the course of the domestic as thesiblings, developmental cyclenew housesare established having grownup and married, have children. thesehousesare on thesamecompound Frequently, landas either thehusband's or thewife's parents. Eventually, neighbouring houses of one compoundcome to be occupiedby adultsiblings, or by the descendants ofa sibling share group.To a considerable degreecompoundmembers resources, land.As compounds aresubdivided, themselves and new particularly expandthey in thevicinity. in which come into existence ones are formed Neighbourhoods houses are connectedto each otherthrough ties thatcan be tracedback to The villagecommunity the processof house exis formed siblingship. through pansion. in theterm This continuity is expressed betweenthehouseand thecommunity whichcan refer or a largeadministrative to a compound, a smallhamlet, kampong unitconsisting The compounditself and religious of several smallhamlets. may haveone houseor tenhousesbuilton it. In other thehouseand thewider words, are directly the latteris conceived as the linkedterminologically: community former writlarge.

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thecommunity isconceived asbeingunited Similarly, ties through ofsiblingship. of theseconstitute or derivatives some of themostcommonforms Siblingterms ofaddress and reference forco-villagers. When two people areaskedto traceout a kinconnexion, howeverdistant, they always beginor end at a pointwheretwo their canbe namedas siblings. Whenvillagers connectedness ascendants emphasize to each otherin a generalway theysay kitasemuaadik-beradik lain disini, orang forkin,adik-beradik, are no strangers'. The term t'ada,'we are all kinhere,there adik. is itself derived from thatforyounger sibling, The conception of thecommunity as an expandedhouseis expressed at comis used to evoke a munalfeasts at whichthemostpowerful domestic symbolism of thecommunity Such feasts involvemembers senseof community. consuming meal. Yet at the same time,as I have already one extravagant together shown, suchfeasts in another constitute ofthehouse.Domesticties waya direct negation rulesof cookingand eatingareinverted. are denied,domestic This ambivalence can be related to thesecondimageof the community: that which is based on exchange.Houses engagein a seriesof reciprocal and equal ofvisits, and labourwitheach other. The commercial exchanges gifts transactions of thefishing economyand thetenseequality of marital are explicitly exchanges - particularly to domestic seen as potentially and unity that threatening harmony amongsiblings. whichshare Inasmuch as housesrepresent sibling resources groups andconsume withdifferent together, houseseventually comingto containdifferent members of sibling sets,theyalso represent bisan on an equal basis.If siblings exchanging shareconsumption to a degreethatrenders marriage betweenthemincestuous, arethosewho, bydefinition, bisan sonsand daughters in marriage. exchange Both and sibling bisan setsare intimately linkedto theconceptualisation of the house. How can thistension be resolved? In theconcluding sectionI will arguethatit is children who providea solution to thisproblem. Children as agents oftransformation I have arguedthatin Langkawinotionsof relatedness are foundedon shared in one house. Siblings consumption shareconsumption morefully thanall other categories ofkin.Theyarenormally brought up in thesamehouseand sharefood from birth on. It is feeding thatcreates blood, and humanmilkis seen as a form ofblood. The primecategory ofincest is betweenthosewho have drunk milkof the same mother, in otherwordssiblings. are conceivedto shareconSiblings to a degreewhichwould negatetheexchangethatis marriage, sumption and to a greater of kin. It is thussiblingship degreethanall othercategories and not filiation whichconstitutes theclosest possible tieas wellas theparadigm formoral relations. I havedescribed how children, in so far as they arepartofa sibling set,embody houses,and are anchoredto them.This association is so strong as to overcome the factthatchildren may not genetically belong to such a set,just as it may overcometheactualdivision of a sibling groupintodifferent houses.Residence and co-consumption in a house can confermembership in the siblinggroup associated with thathouse, even fora child who is fostered there.I have also described how children mediatebetweenhouses.They seem almostto embody

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exchange as they takewords, gifts and moneyfrom houseto house.And thisrole house is mostfully captured when theythemselves takeup residence in another through thevarious forms of fostering thatoccurin Langkawi. offostering in the The different aspects reflect children's capacity to participate I In are brought two imagesof community which have outlined. so faras they oldersiblings, orbyparents' up bytheir siblings, they maybe seenas demonstrating it, as the unity of thesibling groupand the extensive sharing thatoccurswithin McKinley(1975; 1981) has argued.They arelivingout thenotionof thevillage as an expanded house.But whenthey move to thehousesofdistantly community in the related or unrelated co-villagers theyare involving themselves intimately thatoccurbetweendifferent exchanges houscsof thecommunity. This idea is also present when theyresidewith theirgrandparents, as they and may frequently do. Residence withgrandparents, as we have seen,reflects, in thecontext theimbalance causedbypost-marital residence of compensate for, an ideological stress on marriage between itmust be considered equals.In this light as an aspectof marital of exchangeitself. It is also clear,however,thatthe birth grandchildren signals the formation of new setsof siblings and the establishment of new houses.Setsof grandchildren bothundivided domestic consanrepresent the latter guinity andaffinal linksbetweenhouses.In facttheirbirth transforms into the former: once bisan have commongrandchildren theyare,in local conunitedby a consanguineal tie. ceptions, This, then,is at the heartof children's 'inbetween-ness'. It is because they have a dual aspect- representing themselves thepointof transformation of two - that in their mediation opposedimages theycan perform dailylivesa constant of theirparents, of theseimages.As products children betweenrepresentations divide houses fromeach other,and emphasizetheirexclusivity. Throughthe the possibility of fostering of theirparents, and as productsof their mobility grandparents, theyunitedifferent houses. in thehouseofeither Ifgrandchildren can takeup residence setofgrandparents The thatthesetwo housescan actually come to containsiblings. thenit follows tie and one of circleis completedas two housesare linkedby both an affinal ofchildren tiesofsiblingship The fostering can utilise and siblingship. pre-existing createsuchties. reinforce them;it can also actually in a number can always be interpreted of different The movement of children blursthe to exchange.In fact,the movementof children ways,fromsharing in thatit maybe interpreted either as betweensharing and exchange distinction It is or within an unit. between discrete units as sharing exchange sharing expanded betweenhouses in that, down theboundaries from one pointof view, it breaks as an enlarged and is constitutive oftheimageofcommunity house;itis exchange between in that, from another pointof view,it is partof a seriesof reciprocities it is thisambiguity units. And in thelastanalysis and boundedhousehold discrete whichlendsit force. can now be linkedto the children's movement The ambiguity surrounding different between andbehavioural considerable fostering terminological ambiguity above. Distinctions which I described arrangements may be made at one level from consanguines onlyto be elidedatanother, justas affines maybe distinguished level. It is thisambiguity whichallowsthe onlyto mergewiththemat another

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their transformation to thevillage rapid andeasyabsorption ofnewcomers through ofthesecategories intoconsanintoaffines and foster kin,and thetransformation guines. that havethis bothto uniteand Furthermore, I wouldsuggest children capacity arenotyetfully to dividehousesto a particularly heightened degreebecausethey It is their'unformedness' or 'incompleteness' which lends themtheir formed. betweenhouses.This unformedness to move,seemingly ability unaffected, might ofchildhood. aninherent tosomeextent be considered quality Physically, children, thanadults.In Langkawi more obviously substance as theygrow,are acquiring in particular, to be fully in controlof their are not considered youngchildren, it is the who is favoured If children when desires. two quarrel always youngest is to be less capable of elderssettlethe dispute.The youngerchild thought and wrongs rational consideration. understanding particular rights through I would also suggest thattheincompleteness of children relates to thefact that theyhavenotyetmarried or had sex.24 They havenotdirectly participated in, or incorporated, the division whichaffinity introduces into theunity of thesibling group.In thissensewe can understand to whyit is thattheyhave the capacity in exchangewithoutbeing affected involve themselves by it, why the actual Becausetheir doesnotappear to raise separation ofyoungsiblings majorproblems. association withtheir own sibling grouphasbeenuntainted bythedivisive dangers In this ofaffinity, itis strong we mayrecall enoughto overcome partition. respect arenot children's whichI discussed 'non-individuality', above: conceptually, they fromothermembers fully separated of theirsibling group;practically, theyare ideally placedto be thusseparated and to involvethemselves in bothsharing and exchange betweenhouses. It is havingchildren thatconfers adultstatus; conversely, childlessness is the markof childhood.Incomplete themselves, children, who constitute one halfof a house,havethecapacity to complete half-themarried theother couplewithout children. Likewise, children must eventually be themselves completed bymarrying andhaving children. The child becomesa completed adult through having children and then grandchildren. Here we may recallSchneider's(1984) discussion of 'Western' notions ofkinship. for is rootedin 'biology',that Kinship us,he argues, is, a completed, fixedgeneticcomponent whichis implicitly or explicitly distinand opposed to the social. Such an oppositiondoes not applyto guishedfrom Malaynotions ofrelatedness. Children's incompleteness can be seen as a demonstration ofthis. Theirbiological substance isnotgivenready-made atbirth. Rather, boththeir substance and their can complete, sociality butmustalso be completed by,thatof others.25 I would arguethatin Langkawithe stress in on the production of children can on theproduction ofshared marriage equallybe seenas a stress grandchildren of bisan, and thisprocess is itself bound up withthereproduction and intimately ofthecommunity atlarge.It is through expansion theproduction and ofchildren grandchildren that consanguineal tiesarecreated from affinal ones,andnew sibling groupscome into beingwhich will in the future intermarry. In thisway links betweenhouseholds are reproduced through grandchildren. The community is This image, which is projectedat envisagedas one of sharedgrandchildren. in thewidespread communal is realised feasts, sharing and exchangeof children

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that occursin fostering. Grandchildren resolve through their 'inbetween-ness' the and marriage, between opposition betweensharing siblingship and exchange, and between unityand division.They constitute the practical and the full reality complexity oflinksbetweenhouses.Theirgrowth and their movement embody is kinship. theprocess that
NOTES Fieldworkwas conductedon Pulau Langkawibetween October 1980 and April 1982. It was financed fromthe Social Science ResearchFoundation(now ESRC). Additional by a grant funds were providedby the CentralResearch Fund of the University of London. A further visitin fromthe Wenner Gren Foundation, 1988-9 was financed by grants the British Academyand the Evans Fund of the University of Cambridge.During the initialwriting of thispaper I was supfrom portedby a fellowship the Evans Fund. Variousearlier versions of the article were presented at seminars at Goldsmiths' College and the School of Orientaland African Studies,London, the I am grateful College de Franceand the University of Manchester. to participants in thoseseminars and to Maurice Bloch, EstherGoody and Maria Phylactou fortheir In addition, comments. I owe a greater thanusualdebtto the editorand referees ofMan fortheir suggestions. helpful l This contrasts with our own notionsof genealogicalclosenessin which filiation takesprecedence over siblingship (see Schneider1984: 173). The mostcompletediscussion of Malay notions of siblingship is thatof McKinley (1981). See also Errington of the impor(1987) fora discussion in Southeast tanceof siblingship moregenerally Asia. 2 The analysis of fostering has tendedto focuson itsnumerical in and demographic significance the face of a prevailing thatit is a phenomenonaffecting of children.See assumption a niinority Goody (1982) forWest Africa.I have not includednumerical data in thisarticle.They are recordedin Carsten(1987a: 118-26). 3 See McKinley(1975) fora detailed study of the relation betweenchildtransfers and siblingship amongurbanMalays. 4 See also Levi-Strauss (1979; 1983). Barraud(1979), Errington (1987), Macdonald (1987) and Asia. For a discussion Waterson(1987; 1990) have discussed house-based societiesin Southeast of the waysin whichthismodel is relevant see Carsten(1987b: n.d.). to Pulau Langkawi, 5 See Carsten(1990) fora discussion ofinheritance procedures. 6 See Laderman in Malaysia; of theserites elsewhere (1983) and Massard(1985) fora description H. Geertz(1961: 89) for Java;SnouckHurgronje(1906: 375) forAcheh; Hooykaas (1974: 93-128) forBali. 7 See Headley (1987a). This idea is particularly in the case of twins.It is notablethat powerful the more hierarchical Southeast Asian societiesseem to have a particular fascination forcrosssex twinsin termsof incestand marnage,see Boon (1977: 138-40, 201-2) and Errington (1987). thatonce a childbeginsto be able to socializein the house it no McKinley (1975: 226) suggests longerneedsto interact withitsplacenta sibling from whom it becomesprogressively detached. 8 For a full of thissee McKinley(1981) and Carsten(1987a: chap. 3). discussion 9 This is an Islamicprohibition. 10 It is significant thatif a baby has to be removedfromthe natal home beforedrinking its milkit should,instead, mother's be givenwatercooked in the househearth. 11I use the term'conceptionparents' forthe conceptionof a child, forthe parents responsible in order and the term'conceptionchild' forthe childproducedby the parents' act of conception, from thoseof fostering. to distinguish theserelations 12 The term means'raised'or 'lifted' literally child,in the senseof havingbeen takenup and put thisas 'transferred child' to convey the down elsewhere, see McKinley (1975: 61). He translates broadscope of theMalay term. 13 Formaladoption, in Islam,is in factveryrareamongMalays.Djamour (1959: 31, prohibited 34-5) notesthe samelack of distinction beingmade amongMalaysin Singapore.See also McKinand tentative of terms to the conditionality ley (1975: 62-3), who linksthe ambiguity qualityof all - in contrast to thecategorical nature of parent-child of siblingship. forms tiesin Malay culture 14 See Goody's distinction between'crisis'and 'voluntary' fostering (1982: 23). RosemaryFirth statistics forKelantan, which are surprisingly (1966: 105) has giventhe following to those similar

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forPulau Langkawi(Carsten1987a: 119): 25 per cent. not livingwithboth parents;11 per cent. 14 per cent.livingwitha divorcedor widowed parent. livingwithadultsotherthanparents; 15 This factaccordswithvillagers' assertion thattheyvalue male and femalechildoft-repeated in favour of girls, thereis a slight imbalance which is more pronounced ren equally.Nevertheless, in the cases of grandchildren The imbalanceis even more being raisedby theirgrandparents. She stresses markedin Massard'smaterial. of involvesthe transfer (1983: 104, 111) how fostering female children betweenwomen. 16 H. Geertz(1961: 40-1) citesa preference forgivinga childto a femalerelative and especially themother's sister. thatgrandparents the parents' siblings, particularly Djamour (1959: 93) observes frequently bringup children. Jay (1969: 72) statesthatin Java siblings have rights to a person's to theirsister's while Swiftreports thatin Negeri Sembilanwomen have rights children children, (1965: 12). McKinley(1975: 103-6) showshow transfers of children betweensiblings are the most frequent, followedby the transferral of children to theirgrandparents. Massard(1983: 103) states thatchildren are mostfrequently fostered mothers' sisters. thisarea,then,the by their Throughout rights of grandparents and of themother's sister to children seem to be particularly strong. 17 The importance of feedingin creating kinshipmay be quite explicit.McKinley (1975: 62, 180) reports how transferred children are theirreal parents say thattheiradoptiveparents because thesewere the ones to feed them.It mightbe suggested thatin view of women's crucialrole in the creationof kinship, Langkawikinshipcould be labelled 'matrifocal' as, forexample,Hildred the importance Geertz(1961) has proposedfor Java.While fully of women's creaacknowledging I hesitate whichseemsmisleading in view of the tiverole in constituting to use thisterm relations, enormous ofsiblingship. significance 18 This point has been stressed by Barraud(1979) and Massard(1983) amongst others.Barraud how in the Moluccan societyof Tanebar-Evav,marriage (1979: 187-203) discusses involvesthe circulation of women, and adoptionthe circulation of men. Adoption involvesthe relationbetween houses, it assurestheircontinuity when marriage failsto do so. Massard (1983) has also in Pahanggirlsare exchanged described to marriage. In thiscommunity adoptionas an alternative betweenwomen at adoption,and men circulate at marriage. See also Cunningham(1964), who how the loaningof children describes to parents a fragile among the Atoni reaffirms tie. I would withMaeda (1975), who sees the frequent disagree bringing up of grandchildren by grandparents of a dyadictie betweenthem. amongMalaysin terms 19 The detailsof thisdisputeare not relevant here. I have describedthem in Carsten(1987a: 395-408). 20 See also Massard(1983), who views adoptionin a similar light.It is significant thaton my return to the villagein 1988, I discovered thatthischildhad returned to herparents' home when thefamilies involvedin thisdisputehad made their peace a fewyears after theseevents. 21 Goodenough (1970: 405) has used the notionof 'sharing' rights to children to emphasise that what is involvedis not a surrender of parental rights. He stresses the importance of distinguishing different kindsofparenthood transactions. 22 A similar stress on the productionof childrenis found in other SoutheastAsian systems. Hildred and Clifford Geertz (1964) have discussedhow, in contrast with African systems which appearalwaysto 'look upwards'towards and an apicalpoint,Balinesekinship pastgenerations can be seen as 'downward-looking'. They have shownhow teknonymy playsan important role in this stress on future the importance generations. Errington (1987: 420-22, 436) has discussed of childin converting ren and grandchildren in the Centrist affinity into consanguinity Archipelagoof Southeast Asia. See also Waterson(1987: 106-7), who linksa close relation betweenbaisen among theToraja to teknonymy and a downward-looking attitude to descent. 23 See also Cunningham of children as mediators (1964) on the importance among the Atoni. Childrendo not have a fixedposition:theycombine different elements and are not settledin a descentgroup. They can mediateboth betweendescentgroupsand between the livingand the dead. 24 Aries (1979: 103-4) has discussed how children were in some sense immuneto sexuality in sixteenth century Europe. It is clearthatthe association he makesbetweenchildren and irrationalism (1979: 116), and whichhe sees as belonging to twentieth century Western history, may occur in othercontexts. 25 I am indebted to Marilyn Strathern forsuggesting theideasexpressed in thisparagraph.

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REFERENCES Penguin. Harmondsworth: ofchildhood. Aries,P. 1962. Centuries Univ. Press. Paris:Cambridge vers lelarge. tourne demaisons unesociete C. 1979. Tanebar-Evav: Barraud, Univ. Press. ofBali 1597-1972. Cambridge: romance Boon, J.A. 1977. Theanthropological in a Malay fishing villageon Pulau Langkawi, and community Carsten, J. 1987a. Women, kinship ofLondon. Kedah,Malaysia.Thesis,University in Pulau Langkawi, Malaysia.In householdand community 1987b.Analoguesor opposites: (ed.) C. Macdonald. Paris: 'a maison' en Asie du Sud-Estinsulaire au palais: societis De la hutte CNRS. in Pulau Langkawi, 1990. Women, men, and the long and the shorttermof inheritance 146. Malaysia.Bydr.Taal-, Land- Volkenk. m.s. or mobilehomes?Unpublished structures n.d. Houses in Langkawi:stable In Symposium on new an aspectof mediation. of Atonichildren: C. 1964. Borrowing Cunningham, Press. tothe (ed.) J. Helm. Seattle:Univ. of Washington study ofreligion approaches (Lond. Sch. Econ. Monogr.socialAnthrop. inSingapore andmarriage Djamour,J.1959. Malaykinship 21). London: AthlonePress. 2, Asia. Cult. Anthrop. Errington, S. 1987. Incestuoustwinsand the house societiesof Southeast 403-44. (2nd edn.) (Lond. Sch. Econ. Monogr. social Malaypeasants among Firth,R. 1966. Housekeeping 7.) London: AthlonePress. Anthrop. Glencoe, Ill: Free Press. a study andsocialization. ofkinship Geertz,H. 1961. TheJavanesefamily: and genealogical amnesia. in Bali: parenthood, age grading & C. Geertz1964. Teknonymy Inst.94, 94-108. J. R. anthrop. In Adoption Oceania(ed.) in parenthood. in eastern Goodenough,W.H. 1970. Epilogue: transactions V. Carroll.Honolulu: Univ. of Hawaii Press. in West roles Cambridge: andoccupational andsocial reproduction:fostering Goody.E. 1982. Parenthood Africa. Univ. Press. on Cognatic atseminar paperpresented kin.Unpublished Headley,S. 1983. Houses injava: themissing ofAmsterdam. in Southeast Asia. University organisation ofsocial forms In De la hutte 'a maison' en anpalais.societis society. 1987a. The body as a house inJavanese insulaire Asiedu Sud-Est (ed.) C. Macdonald.Paris:CNRS. in Southeast Asia. In De of 'house' societies one definition 1987b.The idiomofsiblingship: insulaire enAsia du Sud-Est (ed.) C. Macdonald.Paris:CNRS. au palais:societes la hutte 'a maison' Nijhoff. tradition. The Hague: Martinus in Balinese andcreation Hooykaas,C. 1974. Cosmogony MA: MIT Press. Cambridge, social relations inModjokuto. R.R. 1969.Javanese villagers: Jay, in rural Berkeley:Univ. of and nutrition Malaysia. childbirth C. 1983. Wives and midwives: Laderman, Press. California (rev.edn). Boston:Beacon Press. ofkinship structures C. 1969. Theelementary Levi-Strauss, Paris:Plon. 1979. La voiedesmasques. Annales 38, 1217-31. 1983. Histoireet ethnologie. Paris:Plon. donnees. 1984. Paroles Paris: enAsie du Sud-Estinsulaire. au palais:societes 'X maison' Macdonald,C. (ed.) 1987. De la hutte CNRS. and nationin Malaysia.Curr. Anthrop. 16, 163-6. community Maeda, N. 1975. Familycircle, 23, 101-14. dansla societemalaise.Homme J.1983. Le don d'enfants Massard, identity being.J.Mal. Br. R. Asiat.Soc. 58: 2, 1985. The new-born Malaychild:a multiple 71-84. andsiblingship Malays.Thesis, childtransfers amongurban water: R. 1975. A knife cutting McKinley, of Michigan. University In Siblingship in Oceania:studies in the meaning 1981. Cain and Abel on theMalayPeninsula. (ASAO Mongr.8). Lanham,MD: Univ. Pressof America. (ed.) M. Marshall ofkinrelations Ann Arbor:Univ. of MichiganPress. D.M. 1984. A critique study ofkinship. ofthe Schneider, C. 1906. TheAchehnese Snouck Hurgronje, (2 vols.) Leiden:Brill. inJelebu 29). (Lond. Sch. Econ. Monogr. social Anthrop. M.G. 1965. Malaypeasant society Swift, London: AthlonePress.

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Des enfantsa part: I'adoption et le processus de la parente au Pulau Langkawi, Malaisie


Resume la facondont la parente est creee dans et par la conceptionet l'educationdes Cet article analyse de l'lle de Langkawi. Au Langkawi, les ides a proposde la prisedes enfants parmiles malaisiens dans la maisonsontaussifondamentales repasen communet le partage pour la parenteque les idees concernant la procreation.Ces ides sontparticulirement associeesa la notionde meme de l'interieur d'une maison. Et pourtant les parente, representant l'unitedes enfants originant la plupart enfants de leurvie entre des maisonset sontdes mediateurs passent dans les importants est particulierement clair dans les arrangements echangesentreelles. Ce role d'intermediaires de ces arrangements montre d'adoptiontres repandus.Une analyse centralequ'ilssontconcernes mentparla conversion de lieusd'affinite en liensconsanguins, et parle maintien de l'egaliteentre les parents selonla loi. Ainsides enfants des points de transformation conjoints representent entre les deux imagescontraires de la communaute, une bas&esur l'unitede la maison,l'autresur la pluralite de l'6changeentreles maisons. Dans leur croissance et leur mouvement, les enfants incarnent le processus de la parente.

Department ofSocial Anthropology, University ofManchester, Roscoe Building, Brunswick Street, Manchester M13 9PL, England

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