The Precarious “Middle Ground”: Exchange and the Reconfiguration of Social Identity in the Hawaiian Kingdom



Exchange is a vital nexus for the dynamic construction of social identities that people materialize in portable and nonportable artifacts. Social identity and culture change are emergent phenomena and so their study is germane to historians, archaeologists, and other scholars who seek to understand the consequences of European and American colonialism before and during the nineteenth century (Stein 2005). Yet, most archaeological studies of contact and colonialism focus on changes in the technologies, economies, and identities of groups (e.g., communities, societies, and cultures), rather than on individuals, since macroeconomic processes are generally more accessible in the archaeological record (e.g., Bayman 2003, 2007; Carter 1990). While this macroscalar approach provides invaluable insights on the materialization of interaction and identity in colonial settings, complementary studies of individuals are also needed to understand exchange and domestic behavior during periods of culture contact (Flannery 1999, Lightfoot et al. 1998). This microscalar approach promises a more detailed perspective on exchange, personhood (sensu Howard 1990), and its relationship to the construction of social identity. In so doing, archaeology can develop a more refined theoretical perspective on the nature of culture change in postcontact settings.


Social Identity Culture Change Archaeological Record European Contact Documentary Record 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Allen, J. (1991). The role of agriculture in the evolution of the pre-contact Hawaiian state. Asian Perspectives, 30:117-132.Google Scholar
  2. Barrera, W.M., and Kirch, P.V. (1973). Basaltic-glass artifacts from Hawai`i: their dating and prehistoric uses. The Journal of the Polynesian Society, 82, 176-187.Google Scholar
  3. Bayman, J.M. (2009). Technological change and the archaeology of emergent colonialism in the kingdom of Hawai`i. International Journal of Historical Archaeology, 13(2), 127-157.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bayman, J.M. (2007). Ideology, political economy, and technological change in the Hawaiian Islands after AD 1778. Bulletin of the Indo-Pacific Prehistory Association, 27, 3-11.Google Scholar
  5. Bayman, J.M. (2003). Stone adze economies in post-contact Hawai`i. In C.R. Cobb (Ed.), Stone tool traditions in the Contact Era (pp. 94-108). Tuscaloosa: The University of Alabama Press.Google Scholar
  6. Benton, L., and Muth, J. (2000). On cultural hybridity: interpreting colonial authority and performance. Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History, 1, 1-22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bhabha, H.K. (1994). The location of culture. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  8. Cahill, E. (1999). The life and times of John Young: confidant and advisor to Kamehameha the Great. Aiea, Hawai`i: Island Heritage Publishing.Google Scholar
  9. Campbell, I.C. (1998). “Gone native” in Polynesia: captivity narratives and experiences from the South Pacific. Contributions to the study of world history, number 63. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press.Google Scholar
  10. Carter, L.A. (1990). Protohistoric material correlates in Hawaiian archaeology, AD 1778-1820. Unpublished MA thesis, Department of Anthropology, University of Hawai`i, Honolulu.Google Scholar
  11. Chapman, D., and Kaihe`ekai Mai`oho, W. (2004). Mauna ‛Ala: Hawai′i’s royal mausoleum, last remnant of a lost kingdom. Honolulu: Mutual Publishing.Google Scholar
  12. Chatan, R. (2003). The Governor’s vale levu: architecture and hybridity at Nasova House, Levuka, Fiji Island. International Journal of Historical Archaeology, 7, 267-292.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Chilton, E.S. (ed.) (1999). Material meanings: critical approaches to the interpretation of material culture. Salt Lake City: The University of Utah Press.Google Scholar
  14. Cobb, C.R. (2003). Introduction: framing stone tool traditions after contact. In C.R. Cobb (Ed.), Stone tool traditions in the Contact Era (pp. 1-12). Tuscaloosa: The University of Alabama Press.Google Scholar
  15. Cooper, F. (2005). Colonialism in question: theory, knowledge, history. Berkeley: The University of California Press.Google Scholar
  16. Cordy, R. (1981). A study of prehistoric social change. New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  17. Cusick, J.G. (1998). Historiography of acculturation: an evaluation of concepts and their application in archaeology. In J.G. Cusick (Ed.), Studies in culture contact: interaction, culture change, and archaeology, occasional papers no. 25 (pp. 126-145), Carbondale, Illinois: Center for Archaeological Investigations.Google Scholar
  18. Daws, G. (2006). Honolulu: the first century; the story of the town to 1876. Honolulu: Mutual Publishing.Google Scholar
  19. Daws, G. (1968). Shoal of time: a history of the Hawaiian islands. New York: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  20. Dixon, B. (1995). Indigenous artifact analyses. In P.C. Klieger (Ed.), Moku‛ula: history and archaeological excavations at the private palace of King Kamehemeha III in Lahaina, Maui (pp. 222-232). Report on file at Bishop Museum, Honolulu.Google Scholar
  21. Dobres, M.A., and Hoffman, C.R. (1994). Social agency and the dynamics of prehistoric technology. Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory, 1:211-258.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Durst, M. (2001). A cooperative archaeological excavation project at the John Young Homestead. Publications in anthropology 1. Pacific Island Cluster, National Park Service.Google Scholar
  23. Earle, T.K. (1977). A reappraisal of redistribution: complex Hawaiian chiefdoms. In T.K. Earle and J. Ericson (Eds.), Exchange systems in prehistory (pp. 213-229). New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  24. Earle, T.K. (1987). Specialization and the production of wealth: Hawaiians chiefdoms and the Inka Empire. In E.M. Brumfiel and T.K. Earle (Eds.), Specialization, exchange, and complex societies (pp. 64-75). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  25. Ehrhardt, K.L. (2005). European metals in native hands: rethinking the dynamics of technological change 1640-1683. Tuscaloosa: The University of Alabama Press.Google Scholar
  26. Fitzpatrick, S.M., Caruso, A.C., and Peterson, J.E. (2006). Metal tools and the transformation of an oceanic exchange system. Historical Archaeology, 40: 9-27.Google Scholar
  27. Flannery, K.V. (1999). Process and agency in early state formation. Cambridge Archaeological Journal 9, 3-21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Frink, L., Hoffman, B.W., and Shaw, R.D. (2003). Ulu knife use in Western Alaska: a comparative ethnoarchaeological study. Current Anthropology, 44, 116-122.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Garland, A.W.H. (1996). Material culture change after Euroamerican contact in Honolulu, Hawai`i, circa 1800-1870: a selectionist model for diet and tablewares. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Department of Anthropology, University of Hawai`i, Honolulu.Google Scholar
  30. Gosden, C. (2001). Postcolonial archaeology: issues of culture, identity, and knowledge. In I. Hodder, (Ed.). Archaeological theory today (pp. 241-261). Oxford: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  31. Gosden, C. (2004). Archaeology and colonialism: cultural contact from 5000 BC to the present. London: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  32. Gosden, C., and Knowles, C. (2001). Collecting colonialism: material culture and colonial change. Oxford: Berg.Google Scholar
  33. Hammell, G. (1983). Trading in metaphors. In C.F. Hayes III (Ed.), Proceedings of the 1982 glass trade bead conference, research records no. 16 (pp. 5-28), New York: Rochester Museum and Science Center.Google Scholar
  34. Handy, E.S.C., and Pukui, M.K. (1958). The Polynesian family system in Ka`u, Hawai`i. Rutland, Vermont: Charles E. Tuttle Company.Google Scholar
  35. Henriques, E. (1916). John Young the Englishman. Hawaiian Historical Society 25th Annual Report, Honolulu.Google Scholar
  36. Hommon, R.J. (1986). Social evolution in ancient Hawai`i. In P.V. Kirch (Ed.), Island societies: archaeological approaches to evolution and transformation (pp. 55-68). Cambridge: University Press.Google Scholar
  37. Howard, A. (1990). Cultural paradigms, history, and the search for identity in Oceania. In J. Linnekin and L. Poyer (Eds.), Cultural identity and ethnicity in the Pacific (pp. 259-279). Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press.Google Scholar
  38. Ii, J.P. (1959). Fragments of Hawaiian history. Bernice P. Bishop Museum special publication 70. Honolulu: Bishop Museum Press.Google Scholar
  39. Judd, L.F. (1928). Honolulu: sketches of life in the Hawaiian Islands. Honolulu: Honolulu Star-Bulletin Press.Google Scholar
  40. Kamakau, S.M. (1964). Ka Po‛e Kahiko: the people of old. Bernice P. Bishop Museum special publication 51. Honolulu: Bishop Museum Press.Google Scholar
  41. Kamehiro, S.L. (2007). Hawaiian quilts: Chiefly self-representations in nineteenth-century Hawai‘i. Pacific arts: the journal of the pacific arts association, 3-5, 23-36.Google Scholar
  42. Kirch, P.V. (1984). Feathered gods and fishhooks: an introduction to Hawaiian archaeology and prehistory. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press.Google Scholar
  43. Kirch, P.V. (2000). On the road of the winds: an archaeological history of the Pacific Islands before European contact. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  44. Klieger, P.C. (1998). Moku‛ula: Maui’s sacred island. Honolulu: Bishop Museum Press.Google Scholar
  45. Klieger, P.C. (1995). Moku‛ula: history and archaeological excavations at the private palace of King Kamehameha III in Lahaina, Maui. Report on file at the Anthropology Department, Bishop Museum, Honolulu.Google Scholar
  46. Klieger, P.C., and Lebo, S.A. (1999). Phase II archaeology survey at Moku‛ula: King Kamehameha III’s royal residence, Lahaina, Maui. Report prepared for the Friends of Moku‛ula, Lahaina, Maui. Digital report available online at
  47. Kraidy, M.M. (2005). Hybridity: or the cultural logic of globalization. Philadelphia: Temple.Google Scholar
  48. Kuykendall, R.S. (1938). The Hawaiian kingdom: 1778-1854. Honolulu: The University of Hawai‘i Press.Google Scholar
  49. Ladefoged, T.N., and Graves, M.W. (2006). The formation of Hawaiian territories. In I. Lilley (Ed.), Archaeology of Oceania: Australia and the Pacific Islands (pp. 259-283). London: Blackwell Publishing Ltd.Google Scholar
  50. Ladefoged, T.N., Graves, M.W., and McCoy, M.D. (2003). Archaeological evidence for agricultural development in Kohala, Island of Hawai‘i. Journal of Archaeological Science, 30, 923-940.Google Scholar
  51. Lawrence, S., and Shepherd, N. (2006). Historical archaeology and colonialism. In D. Hicks and M.C. Beaudry (Eds.), The Cambridge companion to historical archaeology (pp. 69-86). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  52. Lebo, S.A. (1997). Historic artifact analysis. In S.A. (Ed.), Native Hawaiian and Euro-American culture change in early Honolulu (pp. 73-119). Honolulu: Bernice P. Bishop Museum.Google Scholar
  53. Lemonnier, P. (1986). The study of material culture today: towards an anthropology of technical systems. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology, 5, 147-186.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Lightfoot, K.G., Martinez, A., and Schiff, A.M. (1998). Daily practice and material culture in pluralistic settings: an archaeological study of culture change and persistence from Fort Ross, California. American Antiquity, 63, 199-222.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Malkin, I. (2004). Postcolonial concepts and ancient Greek civilization. Modern Language Quarterly, 65, 341-364.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Malo, D. (1951). Hawaiian antiquities. Bernice P. Bishop Museum special publication 2. Honolulu: Bishop Museum Press.Google Scholar
  57. Mead, M. (Ed.) (1955). Cultural patterns and technical change. Philadelphia: New American Library.Google Scholar
  58. Papastergiades, N. (1997). Tracing hybridity in theory. In P. Webner and T. Modood, (Eds.), Debating cultural hybridity: multi-cultural identities and the politics of anti-racism. London: Zed Books.Google Scholar
  59. Quimby, G.I., and Spoehr, A. (1951). Acculturation and material culture - I. Fieldiana: Anthropology Vol. 3, Pt. 6. Chicago: Field Museum of Natural History.Google Scholar
  60. Redfield, R., Linton, R., and Herskovits, M.J. (1936). Memorandum for the study of acculturation. American Anthropologist, 38, 149-152.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Rodriguez-Alegria, E. (2008). Narratives of conquest, colonialism, and cutting-edge technology. American Anthropologist, 110, 33-43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Rogers, J.D. (2005). Archaeology and the interpretation of colonial encounters. In G.J. Stein (Ed.), The archaeology of colonial encounters: comparative perspectives (pp. 331-354). Santa Fe: School of American Research Press.Google Scholar
  63. Rogers, J.D. (1993). The social and material implications of culture contact on the northern Plains. In J.D. Rogers, and S.M. Wilson, (Eds.), Ethnohistory and archaeology: approaches in postcontact change in the Americas (pp. 73-88). New York: Plenum Press.Google Scholar
  64. Rosendahl, P.H., and Carter, L.A. (1988). Excavations at John Young’s homestead, Kawaihae, Hawai`i. Western archaeological and conservation center publications in anthropology no. 47. Tucson, Arizona: National Park Service.Google Scholar
  65. Rothchild, N.A. (2006). Colonialism, material culture, and identity in the Rio Grande and Hudson River valleys. International Journal of Historical Archaeology, 10, 73-108.Google Scholar
  66. Rowlands, M. (1989). The archaeology of colonialism and constituting the African peasantry. In D. Miller, M. Rowlands, and C. Tilley (Eds.), Domination and resistance (pp. 261-283). London: Unwin Hyman.Google Scholar
  67. Sahlins, M. (1992). Historical ethnography. In P.V. Kirch and M. Sahlins, (Eds.), Anahulu: the anthropology of history in the kingdom of Hawai`i. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  68. Sharp, L. (1952). Steel axes for stone age Australians. In E.H. Spicer (Ed.), Human problems in technological change: a casebook (pp. 69-81). New York: Russell Sage Foundation.Google Scholar
  69. Silliman, S.W. (2003). Using a rock in a hard place: Native-American lithic practices in colonial California. In C.R. Cobb (Ed.), Stone tool traditions in the contact era (pp. 127-150). Tuscaloosa: The University of Alabama Press.Google Scholar
  70. Silliman, S.W. (2005). Culture contact or colonialism? Challenges in the archaeology of native North America. American Antiquity, 70, 55-74.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Spicer, E.H. (ed.) (1952). Human problems in technological change: a casebook. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.Google Scholar
  72. Stein, G.J. (2005). Introduction: the comparative archaeology of colonial encounters. In G.J. Stein (Ed.), The archaeology of colonial encounters: comparative perspectives (pp. 3-31). Santa Fe: School of American Research Press.Google Scholar
  73. Stokes, J.F.G. (1938). Nationality of John Young, a chief of Hawai‘i. Honolulu: Hawaiian Historical Society 47th Annual Report.Google Scholar
  74. Torrence, R. (1989). Tools as optimal solutions. In R. Torrence (Ed.), Time, energy, and stone tools. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  75. Van Dommelen, P. (2005). Colonial interactions and hybrid practices: Phoenician and Carthaginian settlement in the ancient Mediterranean. In G.J. Stein (Ed.), The archaeology of colonial encounters: comparative perspectives (pp. 109-141). Santa Fe: School of American Research Press.Google Scholar
  76. Van Gilder, C. (2001). Gender and household archaeology. In C. Stevenson et al. (Eds.), Proceedings of the fifth international conference on Easter Island and the Pacific. Los Osos, California: Bearsville Press.Google Scholar
  77. Weisler, M.D., and Kirch, P.V. (1985). The structure of settlement space in a Polynesian chiefdom: Kawela, Moloka‘i, Hawaiian Islands. New Zealand Journal of Archaeology, 7, 129-158.Google Scholar
  78. White, R. (1991). The middle ground: indians, empires, and republics in the Great Lakes Region, 1650-1815. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Young, R.J.C. (1995). Hybridity in theory, culture, and race. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  80. Young Leslie, H., and Addo, P.A. (2007). Pacific textiles, Pacific cultures: hybridity and pragmatic creativity. Pacific Arts: The Journal of the Pacific Arts Association, 3-5, 12-21.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Hawai`i at MānoaMānoaUSA

Personalised recommendations