of multiple and indefinite power relations that supply the necessary basis for the
great negative forms of power ( Foucault 1980: 122).
In itself the exercise of power is not violence; nor is it a consent which, implicitly,
is renewable. It is a total structure of actions brought to bear on possible actions; it
incites, it induces, it seduces, it makes easier or more difficult; in the extreme it constrains or forbids absolutely; it is nevertheless always a way of acting upon an acting
subject or acting subjects by virtue of their acting or being capable of action. A set of
actions upon other actions ( Foucault 1982: 220)
The development of such a thoroughgoing and multi-faceted conception of
the ways of power in society may allow a way out of the quagmire of category-
mistakes afflicting the intercultural interpretation of political systems.
The research on which this article is based took place over five years, beginning in 1980
with a fourteen-month period of resident fieldwork. The research--into the historical development of Bacavi--was supported by: the Village of Bacavi, Sigma Xi, the Frieda Butler
Foundation, Byron Harvey III, John R. Wilson, the Weatherhead Foundation, and the University of New Mexico. An earlier version of this article was presented to the symposium
"Inequality in native north America: continuity and change", held at the 45th International Congress of Americanists in Bogota ( 1985). I am most grateful to the participants,
especially Shuichi Nagata, for their comments, as I am to an anonymous reader for Man.
Travel to the Congress was facilitated by a grant from the American Council of Learned
This does not mean that women are by definition debarred from access to
political/supernatural power. A recent example saw Mina Lansa as head of the village of
Old Oraibi. Neither was this a function of social change; at the turn of the century, Nasileowi, a woman of the Piikyas clan, was titular head of the village of Moencopi. Female
heads of the three women's sodalities clearly have some access to the sort of powers discussed, but all these sodalities (Maraw, Lakon, Owaqöl) have pre-eminent male heads. Further, female curers, while not common, are well-known and still practising in the 1980's.
I did not encounter this term in the field (it literally means "chiefly people"). Recent
fieldworkers at Third Mesa ( S. Nagata and E. Malotki, personal communications) concur
that pavansinom is in more general use for the opposed category to sukavungsinom. Nequatewa ( 1936: 125 n. 1) refers to all three of these categories. He regards mongsinom as
superior to pavansinom. His characterisation of these two as "first class" and "middle
class", respectively, and of sukavungsinom as "low class" is, I think, oversimplified, however.
This may be a reference to Yukioma's ally, Lomahongyoma, who was put up by the
Hostiles as an alternative Kikmongwi to Loololma in the 1890's. Lomahongyoma was head
of the Spider clan and chief-priest of the Blue Flute ceremony. Part of his claim to be Kikmongwi rested on this ceremonial role, which the Hostiles regarded as equally important
as the Bear clan's Soyalangw ceremony (both have solstitial underpinnings).
The War Chief is mentioned last because in Hopi mythology--patticularly migration
traditions--he was always supposed to bring up the rear, in order to protect the other