Polotics and Culture among the Bunun of Taketonpu





Published date: 

December, 1998


Ying–Kuei Huang


How is social order possible? We can find that the Bunun of Taketonpu effectively used the principle of mabeedasan (consensus without dissidence) to select their Lisigadan Ius-an and Lavian so as to maintain their politico-social order under Japanese colonial rule. Everybody could obtain three kinds of power respectively through different kinds of exchange: isipawuvaif, isipsaif, and ishnoo. The first one is based on the direct competition among people with individual hanido power which is quite similar to the power of utilitarianism in a capitalist society. The second is derived from the sharing of hanido. It was the most dominant power in the Bunun society. The third is based on imitation which is quite popular among the aboriginal peoples in Southeast Asia. The second and the third are to form the special features of the Bunun society. Furthermore, the meaning of the power is illuminated through their concepts of the person and hanido. At the same time, under Japanese colonial rule, a new concept of seizin or politics had gradually emerged among the Bunun which refers to events in connection to the external government. This concept has been strengthened by the rule of Nationalist government after World War II. It has established new political order along with the set-up of local administration via formal and informal organizations. And new economic order is formed in the development of capitalist economy, new cultural order under the formation of new classification systems. Moreover, by means of Han immigrants and Presbyterian Churches as agencies, the establishment of these new orders with different kinds of power are not aware of local Bunun. However, it seems that these new orders reassure them of their "Concept of politics referring to events with the external government and distinguish their original politico-social order from the external political order. They also regard various governments as powerfully dominant with strong hanido power that they have the obligation to take care of the subordinate. Just like their understanding of civil society by which they emphasize different social groups with different capabilities can reach the stage of equality under the necessary guarantee for their respective welfare, these unique visions are derived from their original concept of the person. So, it is the native culture that shapes their visions of social order and politics which in turn influence the pattern of their reaction. In this way, we also manifest the contribution of new tendency of cultural studies in political anthropology.