Landmark anthropological works on fame have shown that gift-giving is often the vehicle for producing relations of 'positive value' and recognition. When viewing fame against the related notion of fortune, however, the focal point of study shifts to how people produce reputations that are 'beyond value' or 'priceless'. This article proposes that the Nuosu of Southwest China enter into an ongoing 'economy of ordeals' in order to accumulate priceless 'tokens of value' that increase their 'fate-fortune' and fame. It shows that ambitious Nuosu accept new ordeals to achieve fame, while comfortably viewing their accomplishments as akin to those of a predatory spider. Tellingly, though, these efforts are vulnerable to the counter-extractive maneuvers of other people and ghosts, which present the Nuosu with new ordeals that could deplete their resources.
Linda Woodhead, James T. Richardson, Martyn Percy, Catherine Wessinger and Eileen Barker
. It is in explaining how not to go too far, and when to stop, that her article makes one of its most valuable contributions for the researcher. The real danger, Barker believes, lies in surrendering scientific values for other ones. By the same token
The Practice of’sharing’ in a New Age Variant of Umbanda
’seekers’ ( buscadores / chercheurs spirituels )—a common auto-denomination among people engaged in a process of self-discovery made up by other, more or less exotic practices appropriated in accordance with Western values in typically New Age ways (see, e.g., Heelas