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Nourriture et parenté

Jeudi 26 janvier 2017

La production, la préparation et la consommation des nourritures jouent un rôle dans la construction des liens de parenté dans la mesure où ces liens sont fondés sur des substances partagées. Dans les théories natives que nous entreprenons d'étudier, non seulement les substances corporelles comme le sang et le lait sont un véhicule de transmission de codes sociaux, mais les substances non corporelles comme la terre, les aliments ou le son, c'est-à-dire des substances appartenant au monde environnant et non pas à la physiologie du corps humain, véhiculent elles aussi des codes sociaux dont le partage crée des liens de parenté.

Quelques observations et hypothèses de:

Monika Janowski (SOAS, London),
Being ‘Big’, Being ‘Good’.
Feeding, kinship, potency and status
among the Kelabit of Sarawak,
dans Monica Janowski and Fiona Kerlogue, Eds.,
Kinship and Food in South East Asia,
Copenhagen, NIAS Press, 2007.

Au Sarawak, sur les Hautes terres dans l'île de Borneo, les Kelabit (8000 personnes) vivent dans des Longues Maisons rassemblant de 50 à 100 personnes. Ils pratiquent la riziculture sèche et irriguée, wet and dry rice cultivation.

(94) The Kelabit also grow crops other than rice, either in dry rice fields or in gardens specifically made for this purpose; these include vegetables eaten as side dishes at the rice meal, secondary grain crops, fruit trees, sugar cane and root crops including taro, sweet potatoes and cassava.

L'unité de base de la société Kelabit est le foyer (hearth-group); une Longue Maison se divise en plusieurs foyers. Jusqu'aux années 1980, la plupart des foyers rassemblaient jusqu'à trois générations, avec un couple marié et ses enfants à chaque génération.

(95) Nowadays, however, with a high level of migration to town, few hearth groups contain three generations. There is one senior couple in each hearth-group, who are described as its lun merar, literally 'big people'. This couple is responsible for rice production and for maintaining the longhouse apartment. Until they become too old to be fully active economically, the oldest couple is the senior couple. In fact, however, couples gradually become 'bigger' until they become the senior, 'big people' couple of the hearth-group in which they reside, taking over from their parents/parents-in-law.

La parenté est de type bilatéral ou cognatique et se fonde, selon Monika Janowski, sur les deux notions clés de lun merar “big people” et ulun “human life”. Mais le terme Kelabit correspondant le mieux à l'anglais kinship est lun royong, qui signifie littéralement «les gens ensemble» (people together), catégorie de liens de parenté dont le fondement selon Janowski est biologique (biological relatedness), mais dans un sens très spécial du mot «biologique».

(96) Relations between people classed as lun royong are of two sorts: a) between siblings (kenanak, literally 'children together') and b) between lun merar ('big people', the leading couple of a hearth-group) and their descendants/ dependants. This latter relationship is equivalent to that between ascending and descending generations (between grandparents/ ancestors on the one hand and children/ grandchildren/ greatgrandchildren/ descendants on the other).

a) = germanité (siblings)
b) = filiation

L'emploi du mot «biologique» (dans biological relatedness), p.97, pour décrire ces relations de germanité et de filiation, est équivoque et prête à confusions. Si les frères, sœurs et cousins d'une part (siblings au sens strict) et les ascendants et descendants issus de procréations par relations sexuelles d'autre part (filiation au sens strict) constituent le noyau de ces relations «biologiques», néanmoins, elles incluent tous les lun royong «gens [qui vivent] ensemble». Par exemple:

(97) The term for grandparent (tepoh) is used to refer not only to one's biological grandparent and to someone who is one's distant great-uncle but also to someone who is the leader of the longhouse to which one belongs. Those of high status were in the past – and sometimes still are – described as fathers, mothers or grandparents by those who are not in that relation to them biologically. In addition, as occurs in many other societies, where someone comes to live in a community entirely non-biological ties with him or her are described using terms which are founded in biological relatedness – as children, mothers, fathers or grandparents. In the Kelabit context, this is through the use of parental names and titles, the use of affinal terms, and through actual adoption.

L'équivoque est levée lorsque Monika Janowski, précisant le sens de la notion de ulun “human life” [le vivant humain], se libère de l'idéologie occidentale et de la théorie biologique euro-américaine, pour adopter la théorie indigène du vivant chez les humains. La théorie Kelabit du vivant humain n'est pas biologique, et la vie chez les humains se transmet par la nourriture et spécialement par le repas de riz. Les trois notions de parenté, vie et nourriture sont indissociables et représentent une théorie non biologique indigène de la transmission de la vie entre parents.

Disons les choses autrement pour nous libérer plus complètement encore de l'idéologie occidentale. L'équivoque dans l'emploi que fait Janowski du mot «biologique» est levée, dès que nous partons du discours natif et de la différence que font les Kelabit, dans leur langue et dans le choix qu'ils font selon les contextes et les situations, entre deux mots différents pour désigner «la vie, le vivant»: ulun et lalud.

Une transmission de la vie chez les humains
qui ne résulte pas de la reproduction sexuelle

(97) “I would suggest that there is a conceptualisation of the relationship between siblings and between ascending and descending generations which is based on the transmission of something which is not the result of sexual reproduction, although its transmission usually occurs between people who are biologically related. This something is, I would suggest, something which the Kelabit call ulun, which I translate as 'human life' because it appears to be something the possession of which differentiates humans, for the Kelabit, from other life forms.”


Ulun, la vie chez les humains

La vie ulun, comme support ou véhicule des liens de parenté, est transmise par la nourriture.

Nourriture et parenté basée sur le partage du riz (rice-based kinship)

(97) The transmission of ulun is symbolised and may also, I suggest, be seen as effected, in Kelabit eyes, through the rice meal (kuman nuba'). It is, I suggest, the sharing of rice meals which makes people lun royong; it is this, the core event in a common social life, which constructs 'proper' human kinship, which I shall describe as 'rice-based kinship'. Although biological kinship is often coterminous with 'rice-based kinship', it is, I suggest, distinct not only conceptually but in terms /98/ of its relative significance.

Parenté biologique et parenté par le riz

(97) There is little explicit emphasis or value placed on biological kinship, while rice-based kinship is emphasised and valorized. I would agree with Carsten's suggestion (Carsten 1997: 281–292) that, rather than rejecting kinship as an analytical notion (Schneider 1984), we need to redefine it, using the term to describe ways in which people actually relate to each other, whether these are founded in biological relatedness or in social ties. For the Kelabit, I am suggesting that there is not a unitary but a dual conceptualization of relatedness – in other words, of kinship.

Parenté explicite et parenté implicite

La parenté fondée sur la reproduction sexuelle reste un concept implicite dans le discours indigène. Le concept explicite de la parenté dans le discours natif est celui de la parenté par le riz.

(97) “One of the two notions of kinship is explicit and the other is veiled and implicit. The explicit concept is the one which is not biological (i.e. which is not based on sexual reproduction), that which I am calling rice-based kinship. The implicit concept is that which is founded in 'biology' – in sexual reproduction.”


La conduite des enfants adoptés
Vis-à-vis de leurs parents biologiques et de leurs parents adoptifs

Un enfant adopté est très jeune confronté au conflit entre les deux types de parenté définis ci-dessus: d'un côté ses parents biologiques, que les membres de la Longue Maison ne résistent pas au plaisir de lui faire connaître, et de l'autre la parenté par le riz qui le lie à ses parents adoptifs. Dans l'idéologie Kelabit, il est naturel que l'enfant adopté désire retourner chez ses parents biologiques, mais son devoir est de rester chez les parents qui l'ont nourri.

(98) A child who is adopted is presented with two conflicting modes of behaviour to choose from, once it discovers that it is adopted (which always happens when it is quite young because other longhouse members cannot resist 'spilling the beans'). One is to remain with its adopted parents and the other is to return to its biological parents and siblings (who often live in the same longhouse). The message it receives from society appears to be that it will want to return to its biological parents and siblings but that it ought to remain with its adopted parents – because they have fed it rice. In other words, the child is presented, at a young age, with a choice between rice-based kinship with its adopted parents and biological kinship with its biological parents and siblings. The choice is perceived by the child as a difficult one which he or she has to face up to, and where he or she knows that the correct decision is the hard one. Thus, this decision is presented as a deliberate, human-generated decision, against biology, defining rice-based kinship as something deliberately engineered and difficult to construct. The child often ends up to-ing and fro-ing but the correct ultimate choice is to remain with (and care for in their old age) its adopted parents.


Le cru et le cuit: deux modalités du vivant

Comme déjà dit, il y a deux mots en Kelabit pour désigner la vie, ulun et lalud. Ulun et lalud sont deux modalités d'une force vitale à laquelle dans d'autres cultures et d'autres sociétés on a donné le nom de mana (en Polynésie) ou de śakti (dans le monde hindouisé):

(108) There are two Kelabit terms – ulun and lalud – which are linked to the concept of a quantifiable 'something', a life force of finite quantity in the universe, which is of considerable significance in SE Asia. This 'something' is expressed in the Javanese concept of kasektèn, which Anderson describes as 'power' or 'primordial essence' (Anderson 1990), the Balinese concept of sekti, which Geertz describes as 'charisma' (Geertz 1980) and the Luwu (Sulawesi) concept of sumangé, which Errington describes as 'potency' (Errington 1989). Geertz (Geertz 1980: 106) has argued that the Balinese sekti may be equated with the Polynesian concept of mana. It would seem that the Ao Naga concept of aren (Mills 1926: 112) could also be included in this group of similar concepts. Neither of the two Kelabit concepts of ulun or lalud exactly corresponds to these more unitary concepts which have been described for other SE Asian peoples.

La notion indigène de vie ou de force vitale est sexuée. Ulun fait référence à la vie humaine, lalud fait référence à la vie sauvage ou plus largement à la vie échappant au contrôle des humains. La vie quotidienne, les interactions sociales et l'insersion des Kelabit dans leur environnement par l'agriculture, le jardinage, la chasse, etc., impliquent une combinaison entre les deux types de force vitale. Cultiver et transmettre ulun, c'est le rôle des femmes; recueillir et rapporter lalud, c'est le rôle des hommes.

lalud = la vie crue, la forêt, la chasse
ulun = la vie cuite, raffinée, le foyer, le repas de riz (avec ses side dishes)

(109) While ulun refers specifically to human life, the term lalud refers to a raw life force deriving from places outside human control – the forest, and more recently, from Tuhan Allah (God) via Jesus. Tuhan Allah/Jesus can, however, also give ulun, specifically ulun bru ('new life'), which is associated with the end of the world and the second coming of Christ. […] Strength of ulun is related to high status and, in the Highlands, to rice-growing; hunter gatherers like the Penan are not described in terms of strength of ulun. This does not, however, mean that they are not admired and respected, for their forest skills – and for the lalud with which they are able to interact effectively in the forest.

On ne mange pas de viande sans riz et le repas représente l'association du riz (féminin) et de la viande (masculine), (111) the rice meal represents a bringing together of rice (female) and meat (male).

(109) Although I should emphasise that no Kelabit has ever explicitly told me that this is what occurs, I would suggest that lalud is brought into the longhouse through hunting. Wild hunted meat is then, arguably, brought together with rice and consumed at the rice meal, bringing together lalud and rice, associated respectively with men and women, to generate ulun.

(113) Meat has to be eaten with rice; lalud has to be harnessed to a useful end, tamed and channelled.


Transmission de la parenté par le repas de riz

Le lien de parenté entre les lun merar “big people” et leurs dépendants se constitue par la fourniture quotidienne des repas de riz, (110) the provision of rice meals. Ces repas de riz quotidiens transmettent la vie humaine ulun.

(110) This is so both at the level of the basic hearth-group and at the level of the symbolic hearth-group which is the longhouse. I would suggest that the point of the rice meal is to symbolise – and perhaps even to bring about – the transmission of ulun to dependants, to descending generations.


The Kelabit aim to transform siblings into spouses

Le mariage idéal, pour les Kelabit, est un mariage entre cousins au troisième degré, à la condition qu'ils soient de la même génération. On évite ainsi l'inceste tout en mariant des siblings croisés classificatoires.

(115) When two cousins are being considered as marriage partners, they will not explicitly be described as kenanak, or siblings; however, it is arguably the very fact of their classificatory siblingship that makes them appropriate partners. Thus, in effect the Kelabit aim to transform siblings into spouses. The bond between husband and wife may be said essentially to be a bond between classificatory cross-siblings; this echoes the way in which Malay husband and wife refer to each other as elder brother and younger sister.

(116) The relationship between husband and wife is both that between the genders and that between siblings. As siblings, husband and wife shared the receiving of ulun from the same source; as spouses, they represent the bringing together of that which was parted through earlier conjugal unions, to transmit this ulun to descending generations, something which is only possible because of the difference between them.

Ainsi, le couple conjugal transmet à ses enfants la force vitale ulun venant de trois sources différentes: celle qu'ils ont reçue de leurs ascendants communs, et celles qu'ils ont chacun reçues de leurs autres ascendants respectifs. Puis, une fois formé par le mariage, le couple conjugal doit régénérer la vie ulun qu'il transmettra à ses enfants en l'associant à la vie lalud:

Each time a couple is formed, however, it must bring in lalud again /117/ from the forest in order to achieve the regeneration of ulun. This is mainly the job of the male member of the couple, through hunting.

Cette combinaison des deux forces vitales ulun et lalud est opérée dans le repas de riz accompagné de viande. Voilà comment le couple conjugal transmet à ses descendants la parenté par le riz.