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Polynesian Lifeways for the Twenty-First Century

Richard Feinberg

Publication Year: 2004

Revised to stimulate and engage an undergraduate student audience, Feinberg's updated account of Anuta opens with a chapter on his varied experiences when he initially undertood fieldwork in this tiny, isolated Polynesian community in the Solomon Islands. The following chapters explore cominant cultural features, including language, kinship, marriage, politics, and religion--topics that align with subject matter covered in introductory anthropology courses. The final chapter looks at some of the challenges Anutans face in the twenty-first century. Like many other peoples living on small, remote islands, Anutans strive to maintain traditional values while at the same time becoming involved in the world market economy. In all, Feinberg gives readers magnificent material for studying the relations between demography, environment, culture, and society in this changing world.

Published by: The Kent State University Press


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p. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. 2-7


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pp. vii-x


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pp. xi-xii

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1. Introduction to Anuta

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pp. 1-26

I stood on the deck of the Solomon Islands government ship Kwai and strained my eyes against the early morning mist. Anuta, the island that would be my home for the next year, had just appeared on the horizon. Its outlines gradually came into focus: first the rounded hill that occupies its northern section, then the low-lying coastal flat...

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2. The Setting

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pp. 27-62

Anuta, or Cherry Island, is a small volcanic outcropping in the Solomon Islands’ Temotu Province. It is the country’s easternmost populated island, located at approximately 169°50′ east and 11°40′ south.1 The nearest island of any appreciable size is an uninhabitable rock that the Anutans call Patutaka, lying thirty nautical miles to the...

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3. Kinship in Anutan Culture

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pp. 63-92

From the time of anthropology’s origins as an academic discipline in the late 1800s, its practitioners have devoted more time and energy to the study of kinship than just about any other topic. Kinship is widely regarded as a cross-cultural universal, which, if true, would make it possible to compare communities in terms of their kinship...

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4. Domestic Life

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pp. 93-120

Human beings differ from other animals in that we have a lengthy period of infant and childhood dependency. During the early years of life, a child cannot fend for itself; therefore, it must be fed, educated, and protected by older children and adults. Different...

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5. Kindred and Marriage

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pp. 121-146

Domestic groups may join together into larger units in several ways. One is through descent—a mechanism to be discussed in chapters 6 and 7. A second is through bonds established among individuals, bringing households together on the basis of their members’ economic, ritual, and political relationships. Kindred and marital...

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6. Descent Categoriesand Descent Groups: Pare, Api, and Kainanga

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pp. 147-166

When it becomes necessary to identify someone’s social position by reference to a named unit, one usually is said to be a member of “the Api ________.” Api normally means ‘fire.’ but when used to designate a group of kin, a better translation might be ‘hearth’—a group of people bearing a relationship to a common oven or fireplace.1 The...

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7. Kanopenua: The Overall Community

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pp. 167-190

Anutans enjoy a set of nested identities. Each Anutan is a member of a patongia, a kano a paito, and a kainanga. In addition, Anutans identify themselves very strongly as members of a special and unique community consisting of the island’s entire population. This is known as te kanopenua (‘the contents of the island’), or simply Nga Anuta...

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8. Three Decades of Change andan Uncertain Future

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pp. 191-224

A visit to Anuta in the early 1970s made me feel as if I were stepping back two centuries—to an era when traditional Polynesian culture thrived and European contact was a mere speck on the distant horizon. Even thirty years ago, of course, this was an illusion. All cultures experience constant change, and Polynesian communities have...


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pp. 225-234


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pp. 235-238


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pp. 239-247

Back Cover

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p. 261-261

E-ISBN-13: 9781612774794
E-ISBN-10: 1612774784
Print-ISBN-13: 9781606351390

Page Count: 247
Publication Year: 2004