In Maisin gave him and Anne their own

In chapter three “The
Social Design” of Ancestral lines, author
John Barker briefly describes his attempts at designing a tapa cloth and how certain
patterns represent a specific clan (Barker 2016:66-70). He also explains how
important children are to the Maisin and how children are taught through
actions instead of words, learning by observing their elders. The children
learn early on what their gender roles are as girls are sent off to work
earlier than boys. Although women work harder than the men, they are still
expected to be the primary caregivers who also cook for and clean the household
(Barker 2016:70-81). The different aspects of family are discussed including
how relationships work compared to Western culture and the intricate meanings
of the language Maisin use to describe one another. Marriage and pregnancy are
also covered with Barker describing how the Maisin gave him and Anne their own
traditional wedding ceremony and its drawbacks in terms of his research (Barker
2016:81-97). Lastly, this chapter describes mourning ceremonies and the
expectations set upon those who were relatives of the deceased (Barker
2016:100-102). Overall, this chapter entails the social construct of the Maisin
and how complicated another culture’s design can be.

            Barker highlights in Ancestral
Lines how women are the ones who do more strenuous work among the Maisin
like carrying heavy loads after returning home from a hard day’s work in their
garden (Barker 2016:76). In contrast, Westerners typically assign men the work
that requires more physical activity and strength. The Gender and Sexuality
chapter in Perspectives also talks
about how “women’s work” and “men’s work” differs between cultures (Mukhopadhyay 2017:3). But, it seems both authors agree
the work assigned to different genders is culturally dependant, not nature
dependent. Barker also discusses
marriage rules such as how the Maisin used to be matched to a potential partner
from a different village by their parents at an early age, but people have more
freedom to choose their partners now (Barker 2016:92-94). Spouses may come from
the same or different villages, but they usually share the same culture which
is a practice called endogamy. The Family and
Marriage chapter of Perspectives
defines endogamy as “cultural rules emphasizing the need to
marry within a cultural group” (Gilliland 2017:9). However, like most cultures
they are also exogamous (“marry outside a particular group”) because they marry outside of their clan (Gilliland
2017:9). So, both texts are trying to point out that our culture
determines who is an appropriate marriage partner and how we can follow
different types of marriage rules.

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the Maisin thought of the idea of staging a wedding for Barker, it created some
complications in Barker’s research because, out of respect, he couldn’t utter
the name of his in-laws and it also ended up costing him resources due to
Anne’s newly appointed “father”. Why didn’t Barker ask the Maisin to postpone
the ceremony until he had a better understanding of the implications of a
Maisin marriage ceremony? I assume he didn’t want to be rude and decline their
offer, but he could’ve completed some of the more detailed research beforehand
if he had known. I suppose that is just part of the job because anthropologists
must learn to adapt to difficult situations when working in the field. Or he
may have thought this was a good way to immerse himself in the culture and see
firsthand how the ceremony works, even though it caused a challenge when trying
to gather a genealogy or census. I think he wanted to avoid offending the
Maisin so, he accepted their offer despite the consequences because he wanted
to respect them and their culture and thus, learned to cope with the new
circumstances (Barker 2016:95).


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