KULA Society is named after Kula, also known as the Kula exchange or Kula Ring. It is a ceremonial exchange system conducted in the Milne Bay Province of Papua New Guinea.
In the original KULA Ring tribe leaders from different backgrounds and islands form a network where they exchange seemingly worthless necklaces and bracelets. While exchanging the goods they listen to each others stories and dilemmas, and offer help or advise when needed.
The underlying value system and cultural custom in the KULA Ring is a "display of greatness". Giving is valued as highly honorable and as more noble than solely receiving.
The Kula Ring was made famous by the father of modern anthropology, Bronisław Malinowski. His path-breaking work, Argonauts of the Western Pacific (1922), directly confronted the question, "Why would men risk life and limb to travel across huge expanses of dangerous ocean to give away what appear to be worthless trinkets?"
Malinowski carefully traced the network of exchanges of bracelets and necklaces across the Trobriand Islands, and established that they were part of a system of exchange (the Kula ring), and that this exchange system was clearly linked to political authority. Since then, the Kula ring has been central to the continuing anthropological debate on the nature of gift giving, and the existence of gift economies.