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Manifestations of Mana : Political Power and Divine Inspiration in Polynesia

de Paul van der Grijp (ouvrage en anglais)

Manifestations of Mana : Political Power and Divine Inspiration in Polynesia
This book explores the role of mana in past and present configurations of chiefly power in the Pacific. Chiefs are often seen as transitional figures between traditional (tribal or feudal) and modern forms of leadership, the latter characterized by rationality and the nation-state with its accompanying bureaucracy. Today, the political arena in the Pacific, although occupied by presidents, members of parliament and court justices, is still ruled by chiefs supporting their authority by tradition, including the notion of mana. Mana may be defined as divine inspiration or energy that manifests itself in persons, objects, places and natural phenomena. Polynesian chiefs have mana because of their descent from ancient gods. Other key concepts such as asymmetrical ideology, mythical constructions of social reality, and social drama are elaborated in and applied to a wide specter of ethnographic examples. The configuration and reconfiguration of Tongan chieftaincy and kingship in this book are analyzed as an extended case study of the gradual, and sometimes shock-like, integration of a Polynesian culture into a global structure, a nation-state, partly imposed from the outside (missionarization, colonization) but also generated from within including state formation and the recent quest for democracy. Together with other Polynesian examples, this forms a relevant illustration of both continuity and change in the configuration of mana and chieftaincy in processes of globalization in the Pacific.

Paul van der Grijp is Professor of Anthropology at the Université Lumière in Lyon, France.
Professeur en anthropologie à l’Université Lumière Lyon 2 depuis 2008, Paul van der Grijp est membre du Centre de recherches et d'études anthropologiques (CREA). Ses enseignements, à tous les niveaux universitaires, concernent l’Histoire et les théories de l’anthropologie ; l’Anthropologie économique et politique ; et l’Anthropologie de l’art, de l’esthétique et de la culture matérielle. Paul van der Grijp a fait des nombreux terrains anthropologiques de longue durée dans le Pacifique et en Asie. Avec ses travaux de recherche dans lesquels, il est engagé dans un programme intitulé Anthropologie des configurations identitaires : transformations des rapports sociaux, des économies et des systèmes de pouvoir dans le Pacifique.


  • Type : Parution, Parution ouvrage scientifique


Manifestations of Mana : Political Power and Divine Inspiration in Polynesia. de Paul van der Grijp
(Comparative Anthropological Studies in Society, Cosmology and Politics, vol. 9)
2014, Berlin: LIT Verlag
320 pages, 59.90 EUR
ISBN 978-3-643-90496-6
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