On the Margins of the Market
Change and Continuity in Nineteenth-Century Hawaiian Household Economies on the, Nā Pali Coast, Kauaʻi Island
While hinterlands have often been viewed as the areas that surround urban centers or central zones, some researchers have used the term to describe areas on the edges or margins of an integrated periphery. In Hawaiʻi, the market economy spread across large swaths of the archipelago during the nineteenth century. This paper considers the spread of the market economy through Hawaiʻi from the perspective of a community in one of Hawaiʻi’s marginal regions. Here, I examine artifacts and subsistence evidence from nineteenth-century Hawaiian house sites at Miloliʻi, a community on the remote Nā Pali Coast of Kauaʻi Island. Analysis of the household assemblages suggests that the residents of the Nā Pali Coast gradually began to incorporate foreign consumer goods into household economies. Rather than serving as hallmarks for large-scale changes in the household economy, foreign goods were instead incorporated into households that continued to rely on household-level food production and manufacture household goods from locally available materials. Rather than committing themselves to wholesale participation in the market economy, this paper argues that Nā Pali Coast households were able to strategically fashion for themselves a place on the margins of the market economy.