Several tacit taboos with religious explanations included the fact that women were not allowed to eat with men at the same table and that they were not allowed to eat certain types of food, reserved for the gods only. Breaking these taboos affects the relationships that develop between the natives and the Europeans, but also produces cleavages between men and women in the native society. The European lack of such taboos has a definite impact on the structure of Hawaiian society.
At this point, trade enters the picture as a new variable that needs to be factored in when analyzing both the structure of the Hawaiian society and the relationship with the Europeans. All relationships, both intra and extra the Hawaiian society are revised. The native Hawaiians were better able to identify and structure the different types of Europeans they were coming into contact with and this was based both on the type of trade that was done with certain Europeans (both in terms of trade ethics and the products that were part of the trade) and on the customs and habits that were associated with particular European peoples.
In this sense, the phrase that was mentioned in the introduction to this paper is very eloquent, because it shows the Europeans shifting from simple foreigners to individuals, with every characteristic that comes with that, including the cultural background associated to them. In the initial phase, when sacrifice dictated relationships between the Hawaiians and Europeans, the latter were seen as an unidentified mass of individuals, with no particularities to differentiate them. With trade as the most important variable to define relations, they became individualities and had a background of different characteristics.
Finally, this also ties into the concept of the structure of conjuncture that Sahlins had promoted. The new conjuncture, defined by the trade relations, creates different historical events in the future, based on the new interrelations that are formed because of the new existing realities. Trade relations imply different objectives in the native structure, among them the fact that the final objective is an economic one: the maximization of profits. Through this, the events that will appear from now on will be based on this new rationale that will be more important in structural changes than the previous religious rationale. The structure is once again affected by the conjuncture of events.
1. Gottesman, Alex J. 2008. Harpalos Arrival in Athens as a Structure of the Conjuncture. Bryn Mawr College.
2. Sahlins, Marshall. 1981. Historical Metaphors and Mythical Realities: Structure in the Early History of the Sandwich Islands Kingdom. University of Michigan Press
Gottesman, Alex J. 2008. Harpalos Arrival in Athens as a Structure of the Conjuncture. Bryn Mawr College.
Sahlins, Marshall. 1981. Historical Metaphors and Mythical Realities: Structure in the Early History of.