Crime and Custom in Savage Society

By Bronislaw D.Malinowski | Go to book overview

V
LAW, SELF-INTEREST, AND SOCIAL AMBITION

IT scarcely needs to be added that there are also other driving motives, besides the constraint of reciprocal obligations, which keep the fishermen to their task. The utility of the pursuit, the craving for the fresh, excellent diet, above all, perhaps, the attraction of what to the natives is an intensely fascinating sport -- move them more obviously, more consciously even, and more effectively than what we have described as the legal obligation. But the social constraint, the regard for the effective rights and claims of others is always prominent in the mind of the natives as well as in their behaviour, once this is well understood. It is also indispensable to ensure the smooth working of their institutions. For in spite of all zest and attractions, there are on each occasion a few individuals, indisposed, moody, obsessed by some other interest -- very often by an intrigue -- who would like to escape from their obligation, if they could. Anyone who knows how extremely difficult, if not impossible, it is to organize a body of Melanesians for even a short and amusing pursuit requiring concerted action, and how well and

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