Volume 90 1981 > Volume 90, No. 4 > Reviews, p 531-566
ALI, Ahmed: Plantation to Politics: Studies on Fiji Indians. Suva, University of the South Pacific and the Fiji Times and Herald Ltd, 1980. ii, 222 pp., tables, n.p. (paper)
ALI, Ahmed (introduced by): Girmit: The Indenture Experience in Fiji. Suva, Fiji Museum Bulletin 5, 1979. xxxvii, 57 pp. Price F$4.00 (paper)
Adrian C. Mayer School of Oriental and African Studies University of London
InPlantation to Politics, Professor Ali has drawn together some previously published articles to provide a broad political history of the Indian community in Fiji. Starting with the period of the indentured plantations (chap. 1), he progresses through the Indian strikes of 1920 and 1921 which were crucial events at the end of the indenture period (chaps 2 and 3) and the gradually evolving pattern of political interests within the Indian community (chaps 4 and 5), to end with chapters (6 and 7) on the politics of independent Fiji, going as far as the 1977 general election.
Although written separately and for different readerships, the chapters nevertheless clearly bring out the continuing themes of Indian political activity—above all, the attainment of security in the land of their adoption, and an equal treatment as its citizens. Professor Ali sees the initial migration primarily in economic terms. Cast into the sufferings and disorientation of indenture, Indians transferred their vision of the future from their home villages in India to the settlements which they saw evolving around their “free” neighbours in Fiji. There, Indians sought to provide economic security for themselves, which they then saw as part of a more generally equal treatment, through which they would again acquire “the izzat[honour, personal worth] which they had lost in the degradation of girmit” (p. 16). As Professor Ali shows, this linking of equality to the events of indenture and, through the “Salisbury promise” to the very raison d'êtreof the Indian community, explains why political demands have been so deeply held, and why it is that they have sometimes been put forward even at the cost of good relations with other communities. Professor Ali minces no words in showing us how Indians were misunderstood and even feared by others, for the other sections of Fiji's plural society had similarly basic ideas about their own status. The Fijians held to their paramountcy as the “host community”, a paramountcy enshrined in the Deed of Cession; and the Europeans saw their status as one which derived from their role as colonisers and rulers.- 532
Professor Ali takes the 1920 strike as an example of economic demands made by Indians being seen in political terms by the Government. The result was a resistance to claims which were later shown to have been justified, and the first evidence of hostility to an Indian community which saw itself as isolated and hard done-by—a feeling of alienation which increased after the 1921 strike, again about a justified wage claim which then took on political overtones.
The next chapter brings forward another factor in the equation—the development of cleavages within the Indian community. At first cultural (religion, region), these were transformed into differences within and between political parties. The differences were at first closely connected to competition for personal status among aspiring leaders, but were later to turn on policy differences as well.
Perhaps the most interesting chapters are those dealing with the postindependence period, in which these different threads are drawn together, and the question implicitly asked: how can a society like this produce solutions requiring a “common will”, if it contains sections with conflicting demands and perceptions of their proper place in the polity, if these sections have stereotypes of each other which do not entirely correspond to their real situation, and if their history together has been one of mutual apprehension and distance? The present constitution is an ingenious attempt to square the circle of divergent interests; and a policy of what has elsewhere been called positive discrimination, attempts to make more even the Indian and Fijian participation in administration and economy (though the events outlined on p. 201 show how in Fiji, as elsewhere, this policy can bring a backlash). A lay outsider may be permitted to note that Fiji, for all its problems, has developed more successfully and with less conflict than many other plural societies. But the story, though hopeful, is unfinished and Professor Ali wisely does not make a prognosis or a prescription.
I hope I have shown that Professor Ali is too modest in describing this book as a collection of self-contained essays “having a semblance of chronological order”. Agreeing with him that it is not comprehensive, the essays are nevertheless cumulative and, to my knowledge, form the only book which covers the entire period of Indian settlement, other work—e.g. Gillion 1962 and 1977, Mayer 1963, Mellor and Anthony 1968, Norton 1977—dealing with only parts of the period. Comparison with such work shows interesting variations in interpretation. For instance, Gillion (1977: chapter 2) lays more weight on influences from India in generating the 1920 strike, thereby giving it a more political genesis than does Ali; and again, Norton (1977: chapters 2-3) more explicitly considers class differences within and between Fijian and Indian communities in recent political alignments, a factor hinted at by Ali in his comparison of NFP and Alliance grass roots organisation. This book therefore adds to the growing richness of analysis, documentation and interpretation of Fiji's political history; and it is enhanced by a clarity of expression which makes this a readable as well as a thoughtful and welcome book.
In The Indenture Experience in Fiji, Professor Ali has had the excellent idea of tape-recording memories held by the rapidly dwindling band of Indians who migrated under the indenture system. He has set out 24 texts, providing them with - 533 an Introduction in which he outlines the system and considers its influence on the shape of the community that emerged.
The texts could have been used in two ways: either as material to be analysed in its own right, from which generalisation would be drawn from points made by the speakers and from the comparison between texts, or as material to be seen in relation to published documents. Professor Ali has chosen the latter course, and it is hard to see that he could have done otherwise, given the content of the texts. For these, though interesting as “living statements”, add little to what has already been written about indenture—that emigration was due either to deception or a wish to earn money, and that the evils of the system arose from the abuse of the task system of labour, from the social problems involved in, e.g., sex disparity, and from the misuse of their power by sardars and overseers.
It is only occasionally possible to discern other points in the texts. For instance, there is an indication in texts 1, 18 and 23 that emigration was the result of “relative status deprivation” (as is commonly reported for other migrations elsewhere) rather than simple economic need. Again, some appear to have weathered indenture better than others and not all of these were sardars (e.g., text 18): but we do not know why this may be so. If these texts are edited versions of the full tapes, the rest of the material may yield data for an internal analysis of this kind.
As it is, they provide the background and confirmation for much of what Professor Ali writes in his Introduction. This is a succinct account of the indenture system, which then leads on to consider the implications for the community which emerged. As Professor Ali notes, the growing presence of “free” men made indenture seem a fate-decreed period which had simply to be lived through. (Indeed, the texts provide indications of the way that migrants appear to have accepted their fate after the initial break with village and family; several could have turned back (e.g., text 1) but did not.) He then isolates the factors of individualism, egalitarianism, desire for security and racial distinction as factors which have interacted to form the Indian view of themselves and their relation to others—and here we broach the subject of the first book under review.
As Professor Ali says, the indenture experience was not the only formative influence on Indian society, but it was a major one, and these texts show what, after a period of some 60 years, the memories of the aged still make of it, and what has been passed down by them to future generations.
GILSON, Richard: The Cook Islands 1820-1950. (Edited by Ron Crocombe). Wellington, Victoria University Press in association with the Institute of Pacific Studies of the University of the South Pacific, 1980. xiii, 242 pp., tables, maps, glossary, app., index. n.p. (paper).
Geoffrey R. Hayes East-West Center
The publication of the late Richard Gilson's excellent study of Cook Islands political history up to 1950 is a welcome event for Pacific scholars and other interested persons. In its original form of a MSc thesis at London University (Gilson 1952) this important work has long been standard reading for both academics and the more conscientious of administrators with responsibilities in the Cook Islands. The number of geographers, sociologists and anthropologists who have been able to give their studies historical depth by means of Gilson's work is by now quite large, and few have been able to fault his findings in any substantial way. This published (paperback) version makes the general outlines of Cook Islands history available to a much wider audience.
Any evaluation of this work should take into account two important factors: firstly, it was Gilson's intention to substantially rewrite the material before publication, incorporating a wider range of data than the original thesis had employed; secondly, the original study was intended to be an administrative history of the Cook Islands, and while this implies a narrower focus than is warranted by the content of the original work, it helps to explain why Gilson relied so heavily on “official” sources and why Rarotonga appears so prominently in the account by comparison with the rest of the group. Had Gilson lived to complete his task we can imagine a book somewhat broader in both geographical scope (to include the outer islands) and data sources, and also one which placed more emphasis on informal social organisation and culture change.
In its present form this book gives a basically chronological account of the consequences of changes in political structure and organisation for social and economic development up to 1950. The first half gives a brief sketch of precontact (Rarotonga) society, followed by detailed accounts of the establishment of missionary rule, the subsequent formation of a British Protectorate, and, finally, the annexation of the islands to New Zealand in 1901. The second half describes the constitutional changes which occurred after annexation up to 1935 and explores the consequences of these changes for “economic development” and “social development”. The period 1935-50 is covered, somewhat more sketchily, in one chapter. The editor (Ron Crocombe) has added references to some of the relevant material published since the completion of the original thesis, but the text itself has not been updated. Crocombe's editing is skilful and appropriate: what comparisons I was able to make with the original indicate that nothing essential has been left out of the text and the changes made have improved its readability.- 535
Those who are familiar with Gilson's book on Samoa (Gilson 1970) will recognise here the same care for detail, respect for facts and lack of moral posturing which characterised that work. Gilson stays as close as possible to the evidence and it is only rarely that a point of view—theoretical or ethical—can be detected. This book will be especially pleasing to those who appreciate the ideographic style of historiography. It is apparent that Gilson is critical of the New Zealand Administration (less so of the British Protectorate), but this derives from the Administration's actions, or lack of them, rather than from an abstract critique of colonialism in general. Furthermore, while he is clearly sympathetic to the perceptions and aspirations of the Cook Islands Maori people, he idealises neither them nor precontact society. On the other hand, Gilson himself (1952: 526) was more critical of the leadership of the Cook Islands Progressive Association (later the Cook Islands Party) than this edited version of his work would suggest.
Were this book to be written today, one would reasonably expect it to be more directly oriented to theoretical issues in the field of development in general and Pacific development in particular. At a minimum a more precise specification of the meaning of the concept of “development” would be required. In this work it seems to be used simply as a synonym for change even when the evidence presented suggests that “regression” would be a more appropriate term—or perhaps that awkward neologism “underdevelopment”.
Gilson's general argument is that up to 1950 the New Zealand Administration had failed to achieve either the development goals of the New Zealand Government in the Cook Islands or those of the Cook Islands people themselves. The British Protectorate, which existed from 1888 to 1901, was relatively more successful in achieving its limited and more realistic aims. Aside from keeping out the French (whose takeover of the islands was believed imminent by all concerned), the principal objectives of the Protectorate were to assist the chiefs (ariki) to bring the minority European population under the control of local laws (the right of self-government being confirmed by Britain's proclamation of a Protectorate), to establish a unified form of government throughout the islands, to control the trade in liquor and firearms, and to establish a customs tariff to finance the administration. Along with a general desire to keep the Pacific Ocean “British”, New Zealand's primary interest in the Cook Islands was the promotion of trade, but until annexation was achieved her powers were limited to the appointment of the British Resident and most policy matters were subject to the veto of the Colonial Office or the British Governor of New Zealand, as well as to the approval of the Cook Islands Federal Parliament.
The inability of the first British Resident (Frederick Moss) to establish a legal system that the ariki, the European settlers and the Premier of New Zealand (as well as the Colonial Office) would accept, led to his replacement and paved the way for annexation. The man sent to carry out New Zealand's policy in the Cook Islands was the soldier-politician W. E. Gudgeon, “a man of supreme self-confidence” (p. 89), obviously selected for his powerful personality and authoritarian manner. Gilson notes, apparently without ironic intention, that Gudgeon “had considerable experience among Polynesians as a military officer - 536 during the Maori wars” (p. 89). This was hardly the kind of “experience” likely to inspire confidence in a people gravely concerned about losing their land and their political autonomy. Where Moss had failed, Gudgeon succeeded by the use of bullying, threats and deception. The unwillingness of the ariki to surrender their judicial authority to a European judge (even though they were under no obligation to do so under the terms of the Protectorate) had, Gudgeon claimed, displeased Queen Victoria, and the military power of the British Navy was brandished to bring home the point. Annexation was approved by some ariki on the understanding that the Cook Islands were becoming part of the British Empire while retaining self-government—including control over the treasury. Both Gudgeon and the Premier of New Zealand stressed the economic benefits which would follow annexation: improved harbours, medical services, production bonuses, a market for exports, and so on. But nothing was said about plans to establish a land court on the New Zealand Maori model, and when the matter was discussed in the New Zealand Parliament, the court was portrayed as a guarantee against the alienation of land to Europeans rather than the means by which Gudgeon intended to wrest power over land from the ariki.
By 1915 local powers had been reduced to the passing of minor ordinances to do with roads and crops:
Formal district government, including ariki courts, had been abolished; the islanders had lost control over finance and the appointment of officials; and the Land Court had been established under a European judge, who was also the executive head of the Administration and the Chief Judge of the High Court. (p.123)
Having established almost complete political control, the Administration paradoxically embarked upon the local equivalent of the taihoa (“go slow”) policy which at that time guided the Government's actions towards the New Zealand Maori. With its emphasis on formal education and the gradual substitution of European “culture elements” for indigenous ones, the taihoa policy was profoundly inappropriate for a society whose indigenous leadership had already been soundly defeated, and whose best opportunity to learn the principles of modern administration—the practice of self-government—had been denied in the interests of economic growth. As Gilson notes (p. 127), the taihoa policy did not, and could not, come to grips with the issue of political leadership.
Neither was the Administration successful in achieving its economic goals, the principal one being a self-financing community. Figures supplied by Gilson (p. 241) show that between 1930 and 1950 grants from New Zealand averaged 41 percent of annual Administration expenditure. The provision of New Zealand's tropical fruit requirements, the second major goal of the Administration, also remained an elusive target. Production of most export crops fluctuated upwards during the 1920s, but by the end of 1949 had either fallen or remained more or less static, even though the number of producers had increased substantially with population growth. Yet the level of exports is an inadequate indicator of the actual returns to Cook Island Maori planters. Gilson points out that after the Great War European traders gained a strong hold over the fruit trade: not only did they have monopoly control over the supply of fruit cases—without which no - 537 grower could export fruit—they also controlled the supply of shipping space. At one stage five traders and 15 European growers were guaranteed one-half the cargo space while the remaining half was divided among 700 indigenous planters (p. 160). These conditions ultimately led to the returned servicemen's riots of 1919. The merchant's monopoly control of the citrus and banana trade was not broken until the late 1930s when the Administration established its own marketing scheme, but poor shipping services and unusually frequent storms during the Second World War prevented the growers from taking full advantage of the new system. In the meantime large numbers of Cook Islanders preferred to become contract labourers on the phosphate island of Makatea rather than engage in the insecure fruit trade.
While this book contains useful material on such subjects as population change, education and health, it could not be considered an adequate social history of the period (Beaglehole's (1957) study has perhaps a stronger claim to this status); rather, its strength lies in its treatment of the political economy of the New Zealand Administration. Since this work was written before the concept of “development” became the subject of intensive theoretical debate in the social sciences, it is understandable that Gilson did not relate his findings to development theory as such. Nevertheless, there is much material here of interest to the theorist of “dependency”, or “underdevelopment”. This book has the additional merit of being well written, interesting, and finely researched.
HOOK, R. H. (ed.): Fantasy and Symbol, Studies in Anthropological Interpretation. Essays in honour of George Devereux. London, Academic Press, 1979. x, 304 pp., figs, photos, index. Price £11.80, US$25.00.
Robert I. Levy University of California, San Diego
This volume contains a heterogeneous collection of papers in honour of George Devereux, a major figure in psychoanalytic anthropology. A book of this kind is difficult to deal with in a short review, for one must both take note of essays with varying aims and methods, and then try to evaluate the collection's general import.
I shall note the miscellaneous articles first before turning to those dealing most - 538 centrally with Devereux's work. For cautionary purposes I shall start with the contribution by Claude Lévi-Strauss. Lévi-Strauss, in deference to George Devereux's Hellenistic interests, discusses the symbolism of the broad bean, Vicia fava, in Old World antiquity. He then finds what he takes to be illuminating parallels in the New World. He notes the ambivalent Mediterranean attitude towards the broad bean. It was proscribed by the Pythagoreans, Orphic traditions and Eleusinian rites. Egyptian priests “enjoined themselves neither to eat beans nor even to look at them.” On the other hand, elsewhere, there were feasts where beans had to be eaten, they were sacrificed to various deities, brought luck, and so on. He explains the ambivalence towards fava beans by using symbolic materials from other cultures in which beans sometimes represent testicles. He then sets up a relationship—penis is to testicles as male is to female. Testicles in this equation are ambiguously male or female depending on the context. “If one dared to suggest,” he writes “that the testicles are recognized in a general way as a mediating term between opposite sexual categories, it would seem less strange that in the alimentary register, corresponding to the category of life, beans, symbols of the testicles, should also be—in contradistinction to cereals—relatively closer to the opposite category, that is to say, to the category of death.” All this symbolic interpretation neglects at least one small datum. To many people with a hereditary disposition, throughout the Mediterranean area, fava beans are poisonous. Such people may develop haemolytic anaemia even by walking through a field where the bean plants are in flower. The powerful ambivalent symbolism of the broad beans seems to have less subtle roots. (We might also speculate on the induction of wind-breaking by beans as a source of ritual ambivalence.)
Margaret Mead discusses the problem of recording and communicating field data so that another ethnographer can judge one's “findings”. She wishes to go beyond Devereux's argument “that it is through the contertransference [analysis of the observer's response to the subject] that the behavioural scientist gets the only reliable information.” She argues that “where Devereux has depended very heavily on the paraphernalia of philosophy and logic, it is now possible to depend upon multi-sensory recordings.”
In passing, she notes a disagreement with Devereux which, put into more general language, is of central significance for the understanding of the nature of the relationship between individual and group.“Devereux insisted that the cultural characteristics that he identified in the Plains Indian patient whom he treated in Topeka were post-oedipally established and that this finding could be generalised to other areas, whereas I maintained that while this particular finding might be true of very recently assembled cultures—like those of the North American Plains, in which disparate groups entered the new culture after their personalities had been formed in different tribal cultures . . . this could not be said to be true of cultures with a longer tradition. There the personality was formed, I believed, much earlier, through multi-sensory, preverbal and nonverbal interactive and environmental experiences.” The important issue as to the degree that shaped cultural experience constitutes the individual on the one hand or constitutes an independent reality with which he or she must deal is at issue in this apparently technical argument.- 539
Weston La Barre in an essay on magic and religion argues that they cannot be adequately differentiated in institutional terms, but require knowledge of universal aspects of ontogenetic development, such psychological data being absolutely necessary for understanding important aspects of the sociocultural life of mankind.
The next eight chapters are detailed ethnographic presentations and make up the bulk of the book. Meyer Fortes gives a close analysis of ritual procedures used in attempts to overcome “bad predestiny” among the Tallensi. Consonant with La Barre's plea for making use of psychological formulations in proper places, Fortes asks, “Would it be too far fetched to think of the evil predestiny as a projected representation of perhaps feared and self-recriminatory impulses?” He shows how the symbolic elements of the ritual are cogent manipulable images. Thus Destiny can be physically represented concretely as descending and adhering “to the patient and her husband so that it can be swept off them.. . . It thus becomes manipulable in a concrete way and can be literally carried away from the homestead and thrown away.” He analyses (from a psychoanalytic point of view) the surface meanings of the symbolic elements of the ritual and their manipulation and in so doing throws considerable light on how they serve Tallensi “effectively as a means of coming to terms with the realities of individual and social life.”
He presents his data as evidence for (modest) inductive leaps which can easily be followed, at least by readers with similar background and experience. As Margaret Mead noted in her article, “Any anthropologist well trained in his discipline can understand and use the work of another ethnographer or linguist, simply by matching his own field experience against the material presented and deciding whether the fellow anthropologist is to be trusted or not.”
Michael Jackson in a penetrating essay on Kuranko (of Guinea and Sierra Leone) narrative presents a flexible approach towards folklore and myth as modes of knowing and communication. He states a general problem in symbolic analysis clearly. “The difficulty of myth analysis is one of avoiding a reduction of the meaning of the myth to particular subjective realities, whether of a narrator, an informant or of oneself. At the same time one must avoid a reduction of subjective realizations to conventional authorized meanings.” He convincingly combines both structural features and aspects of content, that is symbolic features, of the folk tale he examines into a detailed interpretation which would suggest how the folktale served, as he claims, to “occasion and mediate a transcendent contemplation of the world, the better to return with altered experience to the mundane and particular situation from which one took one's departure.”
Alfred Gell in an article on the Papuan Umeda used a technical “phenomenological” orientation to make the psychological “ego” itself the centre of analysis. The “ego” was considered as an unproblematic observer and executant of “external reality” in classical psychoanalytic theory, and, in fact, motivational explanations (“What were his motives in coming late to his appointment?”) imply that matters such as time sense and self-propulsion through a complex environment, that is ego functions, are unproblematic. He considers the ego as “immanent in a network of relations, defending an at best vicarious - 540 transcendence, not always successfully.” He analyses the systems of taboos and conceptions in which the ego (and various other solidarities) are actively articulated. He presents a constellation of taboos in which “one may discover the outlines of a soul or personality, no longer a shadowy even if believed-in counterpart of the physical body. . .but immanently present in a privileged segment of intersubjective reality.”
A. L. Epstein in a long article on the shell money of the Tolai of New Britain asks about their persistent and obsessive concern with it. “It is invested with a degree of affect that would be quite out of keeping with its function simply as a medium of exchange.” He asserts that the symbolic power of shell money is based on its roots in the dynamic unconscious “the outcome of a struggle between impulse and repressing forces.” He finds the unconscious roots in a classical psychoanalytic formulation in residues of experience with defecation and faeces. However, he uses a non-specific and non-psychoanalytic learning theory emphasising “the actual behaviour of those who instil toilet training” and looks for specific teaching patterns which would explain his assumption of the power of anal symbolism.
One aspect of this chain of assumptions may be noted. Insofar as a cultural form, such as a concern with shell money, seems to have some important symbolic, unconscious resonance, it is not necessary that culturally specific early experiences generated a specific psychological sub-structure. It may simply be that those cultural forms which may have symbolic power, but which are determined in their specific form by historical and sociocultural events, evoke these symboic reasonances from relatively universal psychological forms. Any culturally specific potentiating early experience becomes a question for empirical research.
L. Bryce Boyer, writing about “stone as a symbol in Apache folklore”, considers folklore following the psychoanalytic orientation as “offering group-supported means through which individuals can avoid total repression or total expression of intrapsychic conflicts and thus express them without experiencing undue anxiety or guilt.” He looks for his explanation of Apache folklore symbolism in the socialisation of children, following Epstein's assumption that the early practices in some sense will explain adult forms. He emphasises, in contradistinction to Epstein's patternings of learning, the consequences for the infant mind of certain kinds of mother-child relationships and uses a “deficit model”—in which the pattern of child development is lacking something in comparison with some other “healthy” ideal. “The id-ego differentiation of the typical Apache has been stunted and the establishment of self-and object-representations has not become well established as a result of the traumata to which he has been subjected during his oral period of psychosexual development.” This will eventually lead us to some of the presumed infantile meanings of stones in Apache folklore, including “the teeth of the oral sadistic phase” and “the genital of the female,” etc.
Derek Freeman, in an article on the symbolism of severed heads among the formerly head-hunting Iban of Borneo argues that head-hunting is “a mode of symbolic behaviour that must be interpreted to be understood.” He marshals - 541 suggestive cross-cultural evidence that “we may recognize the head as being, in some cultures [and this caveat separates him from the more unabashedly universalist stances of some other contributors] a phallic symbol,. . . as a primary source of the ‘generative power of nature’.” He is able on the basis of this interpretation to suggest the symbolic power of collecting heads. “Among the Iban, then, head-hunting was a highly aggressive masculine cult through participation in which ambitious individuals achieved an audacious lustre, while capturing from alien tribes fresh tracts of rain forest for the cultivation of the abundant crops on which their prosperity depended. It is not, I would suggest, surprising that such a venturesome people should have taken to their hearts the piquant fantasy—fecund with both death and life—of severed heads that germinate.”
The final paper among the ethnographic essays is by L. R. Hiatt, who proposes an interpretation of some of the symbolic aspects of The Magic Flute inspired by some possible analogies with Australian aboriginal materials. He makes the interesting suggestion that the otherwise mystifying shift in Tamino's relationship to the Queen of the Night in the course of the opera draws some of its meanings from a symbolic and ritual shifting of the developing male from the society of mothers and women, to an isolation and subsequent rebirth in a society of men.
The outer frame, as it were, in which these ethnographic essays are presented, consists of the papers by the editor, R. H. Hook, in an introduction and a final essay on “phantasy and symbol” (Hook uses the spelling “phantasy” to refer to technical psychoanalytic conceptions of fanciful thought), a “portrait” of George Devereux by Ariane Deluz, and an article by George Devereux on “fantasy and symbol and dimensions of reality.”
Hook considers the psychoanalytic concepts of symbol and symbol formation, “and how these concepts may contribute to the understanding of ethnographic material.” He reviews some of the traditional thinking on the subject. He notes in passing (through a quotation from Rodrigué) the early (and still common) analytic tendency to interpret “symbolic units” in a dream or narrative rather than consider the symbolic import of the whole text in which the symbols are embedded. He notes Melanie Klein's conviction that “symbolization [is] the process by which the infant apprehends reality and endows it with value,” which we will find again applied to adults in Devereux's essay. “Failure of symbolic substitution leads [in infants] to a state of autism in which the external world is lacking in interest. . .”
Hook and Deluz review the extensive contributions of Devereux to psychoanalytic anthropology and Hellenic studies. Both emphasise the centrality of his “complementarity principle” which metaphorically extended from the Heisenberg uncertainty principle in an effort to overcome the imperial claims to total explanation of both sociocultural and psychological simplistic theory posits “that explanation on these two levels of discourse, sociocultural and psychological, cannot be offered at the same time, but also that, within its own frame of reference, each permits a complete explanation of a particular phenomenon. This position also establishes the logical impossibility of a synthesis of the two,”—and thus, it would seem, the possibility of any unified theory of man in his supra-biological world. In practice this leads to the ascription of - 542 culturally influenced aspects of mind by axiom to the sociocultural sphere,—hence, in part, Devereux's emphasis on culture as not acting on the preoedipal core of mind. A privileged, deep (albeit psychoanalytically accessible) universal aspect of mind is what, in this formulation, “psychology” would be concerned with.
In his own article George Devereux argues that all human activities have a symbolic component, in the sense of symbolic as involving the fantasy processes of a dynamic unconscious. That is, not only does walking dreamt in a dream symbolise sexual intercourse, but walking in ordinary, everyday life has at least some of this symbolic meaning. He makes the intriguing suggestion, extending and in part transforming the claims of Melanie Klein about children, that reality would fall into discrete, non-sequential, unidimensional fragments unless held together by the symbolic interweavings which bind such fragments into some sort of an emotionally significant unity. “Man's great capacity for segmentalization, for functional specificity, enables him to get fully involved with persons, things and time only by means of his complementary capacity to make reality highly multidimensional.”
In the course of his argument, he remarks that he believes that each person and each society contain in some sense the same materials, although variously arranged. This is the basis of our capacity to understand each other and other cultures.
He believes that there is no radical disjunction between private and public symbols, with the private being the paradigm. And he notes, illustrating the dangers of oppositional dialectic, “Weston La Barre's admirable demonstration that all religions are simply [my italics] the subsequently institutionalized, but originally subjective, delusions of ecstatic individuals. . .capable of being co-experienced by others as a revelation through the gradual transformation of the prophet's private symbols into public ones.”
The blurb on the dust jacket of the book says that this series of papers “mark a significant advance in the study of anthropological interpretation.” Do they?
It is easy to make fun of various specimens of symbolic analysis, as of any interpretive procedure that depends on the fragile understanding of fellow humans through empathy. Salvadore Dali is reported to have remarked that the reason that the German people followed Hitler was their fascination with his brown shirts, a fascination deriving from their repressed love for gingerbread.
Yet these very varied essays suggest that the privately organised, body centred, ontogenetically structured, aspects of mind—defining self, other, motivation, and meaning in general are a necessary dimension in understanding man in society. It seems to me that our models for doing this are not yet quite right, and that we are still tangled up in much sillinesss and ideology (as are the resolutely non-psychological approaches to anthropology).
I do not think that these studies are so much an advance as the keeping alive of a vital tradition, sometimes much beleaguered, which will nourish some anthropology as yet to come.- 543
JENNINGS, Jesse D., and Richard N. HOLMER: Archaeological Excavations in Western Samoa. With sections by Nancy Hewitt, Gregory Jackmond, Joel Janetski, Ernest Lohse. Pacific Anthropological Records No. 32. Honolulu, Department of Anthropology, Bernice P. Bishop Museum, 1980. xi, 155 pp., figs, photos, tables, maps. Price US$8.00 (paper).
Janet Davidson University of Otago
This volume contains the final reports on the 1976 and 1977 field seasons of the University of Utah Samoan Archaeological Program, and also represents the last word of the participants on the three seasons of the programme. It is to be read in conjunction with an earlier publication in which the results of the initial 1974 season were presented (Pacific Anthropological Records No. 25). Investigations centred on the western end of Upolu and the nearby island of Manono, and were directed to two separate problems in Samoan prehistory: the detailed study of settlement patterns in the late prehistoric period, and elucidation of an earlier phase of Samoan prehistory during which pottery was made and used.
Much of the volume is concerned with the Mt Olo site survey and associated excavations. The Mt Olo tract lies several kilometres inland from the western tip of Upolu. Here an arbitrarily defined area of almost 2 km2 has been mapped in detail and some 565 structures recorded including mounds, walkways, fences, and ovens. My own brief experience of archaeological sites in this part of Upolu some years ago convinced me of the difficulties of a project of this kind and I consider the Mt Olo survey a notable achievement. The large sample has permitted a detailed analysis of settlement patterns. Holmer has been able to expand the earlier definitions of household units, residential wards, and communities, and these archaeologically defined units are convincingly related to ethnographic descriptions. The extent to which the settlements were defined by a network of walkways was hitherto unsuspected, and could only become apparent from an intensive mapping project such as this. The walkways tend to vary in size and care in construction according to their proximity to high-status areas. Primary and secondary walkways can be recognised according to their significance in the overall network. Another interesting conclusion concerns large raised-rim ovens. Such ovens in Samoa have previously been interpreted as umu ti (used for cooking Cordyline terminalis) and their association with other structures regarded as uncertain. The survey proves they were associated with high-status residential areas. This means they can more confidently be used to date associated structures, but it must also cast some doubt on the umu ti interpretation. They may actually have been used in the preparation of communal feasts.
The type of analysis applied to the Mt Olo data is extended to a small area at Sapapali'i on Savaii in an appendix by Jackmond and Holmer. This raises interesting possibilities for inter-district comparisons, and shows that the potential of this kind of survey has by no means been exhausted.- 544
The value of the Mt Olo study lies in the mapping of a large area and thorough interpretation of settlement patterns. The associated excavation programme added relatively little information and leaves a number of problems unresolved. Limited excavations in nine sites are described by Holmer, Hewitt, Jackmond and Lohse. In all sites the basic stratigraphy was simple, but the stone structures did not prove amenable to stratigraphic investigation. Little success was experienced in discovering postholes of buildings which must once have occupied many of the mounds. Artefacts were extremely sparse and faunal remains virtually non-existent. A number of radiocarbon dates suggest rather insubstantial activity in the area between about 1600 B.P. and 600 B.P. followed by the construction and use of the majority of the surviving structures within the last 600 years. These results are not precise enough to indicate how long individual structures were in use, or how many and which were in use at any one time. The difficulties of excavating in sites of this kind in Samoa are well known. None the less, the disappointing results may be partly due to the small-scale and sometimes strangely placed excavation squares.
The broader interpretation of the Mt Olo survey suffers somewhat as a result of the limitations of the excavation results. It would be nice to know rather more about when the settlement began to take on its highly organised appearance, how much of it was in use at any one time, what its maximum population may have been, and when it was abandoned. Jennings and Holmer argue for a “much larger prehistoric population” and suggest abandonment of Mt Olo between A.D.1600 and 1700, without detailed discussion of either question. So far there is very little evidence for repeated occupation of individual sites, in contrast to results elsewhere in Upolu, although it is possible that many amorphous stone scatters may represent earlier robbed house platforms. Another unresolved problem is whether clear areas within the settlement were gardens. On balance, the conclusion appears to be, no, but there is some dithering on this point in several of the reports.
To many readers, the more interesting aspect of the programme will be the investigation of two pottery-bearing coastal middens on Manono, described by Lohse. The discovery of these sites was a reward for Jennings’ application of common sense and experience to a long-standing problem in Samoan archaeology. Unfortunately, the Potusa site turned out to be very disturbed. More confidence can be placed in the associations at nearby Falemoa. Even so, Falemoa is a complex site whose interpretation presents problems. There are also difficulties over dating. On balance, however, the University of Utah Samoan Archaeological Program has added significantly to our knowledge of the Samoan sequence between about 0 and 500 B.C.
The artefacts from all the sites and the food remains from Potusa and Falemoa are described in separate papers. Holmer's study of the ceramics from five coastal sites (the previously reported Ferry Berth, Paradise and Jane's Camp as well as Falemoa and Potusa) defines seven ceramic types belonging to two Wares, one of which apparently developed out of the other. The classification should be able to be applied to other collections of Samoan pottery. Although shell and bone artefacts were not abundant, the collections from Falemoa and Potusa are a very - 545 significant addition to Samoan material culture. Janetski's description sets out the data clearly. Trolling lures are still confined to late contexts; shell one-piece hooks are always rare but present throughout the sequence; ornaments are found from very early to historic times (principally shell rings interpreted as bracelets, but some important bone or ivory beads from the base of Falemoa); shell vegetable peelers from fairly early to historic contexts. There is also a report by Hewitt on adzes and other basalt artefacts. Janetski's discussion of food remains from Potusa and Falemoa is largely concerned with shell. Unfortunately, pig bone was identified from doubtful contexts at Potusa but not from Falemoa. Janetski appears to favour the view that horticulture may have been limited in Samoa during the earlier period. Apart from the lack of pig bone from secure early contexts there is little evidence to support this idea.
Throughout the volume a firm and experienced editorial hand can be discerned, which makes the few inconsistencies of interpretation more noticeable. The reports are clearly written and there are relatively few typographical errors. Whereas some archaeological reports on Oceania err in the direction of verbosity and unnecessary detail, this one consistently errs in the direction of brevity and terseness. The illustrations are mostly clear, but many of them lack small details that would have improved understanding of the excavations—modern roads, postholes and even the position of excavations are not always given. There are too many schematic cross-sections, and hardly any sections to scale. This is particularly irritating for the important Falemoa site, and for the Ma'a Ti site, where four successive large ovens were uncovered. In view of the problem of the function of these large ovens, detailed sections as well as a schematic section would have been helpful.
Despite these shortcomings, however, the volume is a useful addition to the literature on Polynesian archaeology, and in these days represents value for money.
JOHNSTON, Raymond Leslie: Nakanai of New Britain: The Grammar of an Oceanic Language. Pacific Linguistics, Series B, No. 70. Canberra, Department of Linguistics, Research School of Pacific Studies, Australian National University, 1980. xiii, 310 pp., tables, maps, app., index. Price A$11.50 (paper).
Frantisek Lichtenberk University of Auckland
The present grammatical study of Nakanai, a revision of the author's 1978 doctoral dissertation, is a major contribution to the steadily expanding descriptive literature dealing with Oceanic languages. The word “grammar” in the subtitle should be understood in its more restrictive sense, i.e. syntax and morphology, - 546 exclusive of phonology (Nakanai phonology is briefly treated in one of the appendices and is primarily the work of Marilyn Johnston).
After a discussion of the history of linguistic research in Nakanai and of the speech community, the rest of the grammar deals with various syntactic and morphological phenomena at the level of the clause, phrase and sentence (in that order). Johnston's analysis of Nakanai rests on three overriding factors which, according to him, are crucial for the understanding of the syntax of the language: case relations, pragmatic salience and thematic organisation.
Chapter II is concerned with the case relations. Two basic types are distinguished: nuclear and peripheral. The nuclear cases are those “which are central to the definition of the action or state or process encoded by the verb to which they relate”, while the peripheral cases “occur only optionally . . . and are incidental to the definition of the meaning of the verb” (p. 24). In other words, the former but not the latter define the case frames of verbs. The nuclear cases are furthermore subdivided into those that occupy pragmatically salient positions in the clause and those that occupy non-salient positions (for pragmatic salience see further below).
Altogether nine cases are recognised for Nakanai: Actor, Beneficiary, Patient (nuclear, pragmatically salient), Goal, Instrument, Source (nuclear, non-salient), Location, Range, Comitative (peripheral). Johnston gives definitions of the case relations and a list of the case frames together with examples. In some instances, case assignment appears rather arbitrary and inconsistent. Thus, Patient “is the entity affected by the action or state”, among other things the entity which “simply exhibits the state” (p. 27), as e.g. Baba in
e Baba kamakokora
Art B. bad
‘Baba is bad’.
e Baba lea le bubuli
Art B. sick Abl measles
‘Baba is sick with measles’
Baba is said to be Actor, i.e. “the typically animate entity to whom the action is attributed”, which includes “the experiencer of a caused or spontaneous process, or mental state or event” (p. 27).
The intransitive verb sagege ‘be happy’ takes, in addition to Actor, one more NP. This NP is sometimes identified as Instrument:
e Baba sagege le loli
Art B. happy Abl lollies
‘Baba is happy with the lollies’
(and in the sample lexicon in Appendix C the case frame of sagege is given as Act (Ins)). Elsewhere, however, the non-Actor NP is identified as Source:
e Baba sagege le Bubu
Art B. happy Abl B.
‘Baba is happy with Bubu’- 547
la kari halaba tetala, e kansel sagege sesele o-vola
Art truck new his Art Councillor happy truly at-Pron ‘as for his new truck, the Councillor is very happy with it’
At the same time, however, Source (the participant from whom something is removed) is said to occur in construction with the transitive directional verb taro ‘away from’.
Chapter III deals with the basic structure of the Nakanai clause. Interestingly, the structure is not given in terms of subject and object(s) (and verb) but in terms of ‘pragmatic peaks’. Three positions of relative pragmatic prominence are identified: I (highest), II and X (lowest). In spite of the importance attached to pragmatic salience, the concept itself is, however, nowhere clearly defined, apart from the following general statement: “Salience is a result of basic role and the degree of proximity of the referent in both the linguistic and non-linguistic contexts.” (pp. 52-53). In spite of the attractiveness of the concept of pragmatic salience (Johnston takes it over from Foley 1976), one is left with a feeling of the question being begged: “the leftmost nominal position in the clause is the point of highest pragmatic prominence” (p.81); “the NP of highest pragmatic prominence is the one which cannot be deleted” (p. 82) (but the subsequent two sections deal with optional deletion of the NP in pragmatic position I!). Johnston gives a number of arguments as evidence for pragmatic peaks I and II; these in most linguists’ terminology would be taken as arguments for subject and direct object.
One can only applaud Johnston's attempt to include semantic as well as referential factors in the discussion of the structure of the Nakanai clause even though one would wish for a more substantive characterisation and explication of the concept of pragmatic salience.
The remainder of Chapter III is devoted to the various modality elements of the clause, such as ‘time’, ‘negative’, ‘irrealis’ (Johnston, following Fillmore 1968, considers the fundamental structure of the clause to be S = Modality + Proposition). Detailed information is given concerning the intonation contours of the indicative, interrogative and imperative moods.
The next chapter deals exclusively with the topicalisation strategies and functions. Nakanai has two basic topicalising strategies: fronting coupled with pronominal tracing, and inflection (by means of a demonstrative or a deictic). Topicalisation in Nakanai has two basic functions: ‘foregrounding’ (by fronting) is used with known, old themes, while ‘highlighting’ (by reflection) serves to introduce new themes.
The next two chapters, V and VI, deal with the structures of the verb phrase and the noun phrase respectively. As is common in descriptions of Oceanic languages, direct object (or rather the NP in pragmatic peak II) is not considered a constituent of the VP.
Among the topics covered in the chapter dealing with the noun phrase are the possessive constructions. Nakanai, like other Oceanic languages, has more than one type of possessive construction. The types found in Nakanai are termed by Johnston ‘inalienable’ and ‘alienable’.- 548
It is of interest, then, that Johnston characterises the Nakanai possessive system as being of the gender type, “with inalienably and alienably possessed classes of nouns” (p. 170). His rationale for doing so is the fact that, with a few exceptions, nouns in Nakanai appear in only one type of possessive construction, either alienable or inalienable.
In the discussions of the possessive constructions in various Oceanic languages, one of the following two analyses is usually adopted:
1) the language is said to have a gender/noun class system, i.e., nouns are subclassified as to the type of possessive construction in which they appear;
2) the type of possessive construction used is said to be determined by the nature of the relationship between the referent of the possessor NP and that of the possessed NP. Thus, for example, the same noun will appear in one type of construction if its referent is conceived of as the possessor's body part and in another type if not. Compare the following two examples from Manam:
paŋ ana-gu and paŋ ana ?ana-gu
head -my head Poss-my
‘my head (body part)’ ‘my (e.g. fish) head (for me to eat)’.
In the latter example, ?ana is a special ‘edible’ possessive marker used when the referent of the possessed NP is conceived of as food for the referent of the possessor NP. Recently it has been this latter analysis that has been preferred by many investigators because in those languages many nouns freely occur in more than one type of construction. One can even find in the literature the following categorical statement:
“The notion that, in Oceanic (OC) languages, the nature of the possessive construction was determined by the “gender” of the possessed nominal was finally dispelled in 1973 in (Lynch 1973, Pawley 1973).” (Lynch 1981).
(Note, however, that Pawley makes this claim only about certain and not necessarily all Oceanic languages.)
It is of interest, then, that Johnston characterises the Nakanai possessive system as being of the gender type, “with inalienably and alienably possessed classes of nouns” (p. 170). His rationale for doing so is the fact that, with a few exceptions, nouns in Nakanai appear in only one type of possessive construction, either alienable or inalienable.
In the section dealing with verbal nouns, several rules are given to account for the various types of nominalisation. The rules (written in a rather unorthodox fashion) fail, however, to derive the ur form of the nominalising affix; for example
vore and la v -ur- ore
paddle Art -Nom-
The latter form is said to be derived by rules biii
il- ] (-)ul / (C) V CV and rule vi, but no rule vi is given.
The next two chapters deal with phenomena beyond the level of the clause. In Chapter VII verb serialisation is discussed. Johnston reviews three types of analysis of serial verb construction proposed in the literature: concatenation of - 549 VPs, VP + Adverb constructions, and clause chaining. After a detailed analysis of the several categories of ‘coverbs’ (i.e. verbs that can appear in serial constructions with auxiliary-like functions) that exist in Nakanai, he opts for the clause-chaining alternative, primarily because the coverbs can all appear as main verbs. Chapter VII is devoted to interclausal relationships: subordination and coordination.
The body of the book closes with a brief concluding chapter, which apparently is to serve to put Nakanai in historical perspective. The chapter ends with a rather baffling suggestion that Nakanai may be a simplified descendant of an earlier language, the change and simplification being possibly partly due to contact with other Austronesian languages in the area.
The nine chapters are followed by three appendices. Appendix A deals with Nakanai phonology; Appendix B contains six texts with morpheme glosses as well as free translations, and Appendix C is a sample lexicon. In the lexicon, each item is specified for its syntactic category, meaning and morphological properties. For verbs, the case frames are given as well. However, the lexicon contains only the lexical items found in the texts in Appendix B, and furthermore in the case of the verbs only those syntactic and semantic properties are specified that are reflected in the texts. As such, the lexicon is hardly more than a lexicographical exercise, certainly not a truly representative sample of Nakanai lexicon.
One final remark: Given the substantive contributions of the grammar to the field of Oceanic linguistics, it is unfortunate that one comes across an unnecessarily large number of misprints and errors; the volume would have benefited from more careful proofreading.
HANSON, F. Allan (ed.): Studies in Symbolism and Cultural Communication. Lawrence, Kansas, University of Kansas Publications in Anthropology 14, 1982. ix, 109 pp., figs. n.p. (paper).
Gregory Schrempp University of Chicago
The eight papers in this volume, which is dedicated to the memory of Gregory Bateson, stem from a seminar held at the University of Kansas in 1978, to which Bateson contributed. As Hanson notes in his introduction the collection is diverse, and yet loosly unified in a concern with “mind, meaning, and symbols.” Bateson's contribution exemplifies his ongoing fascination with models of learning; the other contributors are concerned with interpreting the symbolism of particular verbal or ritual texts, or with problems of method in doing so (Dean Braa writes on the Irish Easter rebellion of 1916; Georges Condominas, on rituals of the Mnong Gar of Vietnam; F. Allan Hanson, on rituals associated with the traditional Maori latrine; John M. Janzen, on contemporary festivals of the Great Plains, U.S.A.; Miguel León-Portilla, on styles of thought of ancient Mexico; Robert Jerome Smith, on Friedrich Max Müller; and Victor Turner, on the Japanese novel and Noh drama).
I found the collection on the whole interesting and varied. Several of these articles (in addition to Hanson's considered below) may have some relevance to Polynesia. Max Müller, for instance, the subject of Smith's essay, frequently detoured into Polynesia within his copious writings on Indo-European mythology. As is attested in newspaper clippings and other material regarding Müller to be encountered in various New Zealand archives, Müller exercised a great influence in the formative period of New Zealand ethnology. For most Polynesianists, however, the most conspicuous article in the collection is that by the editor, F. Allan Hanson, entitled “Method in Semiotic Anthropology; or, How the Maori Latrine Means;” I will devote the rest of my comments to this article.
Judging by the scholarly line that is forming, the “heketua” (or latrine) may well become the third great “h” of theoretical scholarship on traditional Maori society; the concepts of “hapū” (Williams: “section of a large tribe, clan, secondary tribe”) and “hau” (Williams: “vitality”, “vital essence”) have each already been the focus of a series of provocative and distinguished scholarly treatises. Such pivotal debates can never really die, though they sometimes give the appearance of approaching saturation in theoretical nuance.
There are two main sections to Hanson's paper. The first is a discussion of the methods of semiotic anthropology, which presents some basic theoretical concepts and argues that the focus on “meaning” espoused in semiotic and other forms of “humanistic” anthropology renders them “no less objective or - 551 scientific than any other way of doing anthropology.” The second section consists of an analysis of the meaning of the traditional latrine (particularly the “ngau paepae” or “biting the beam” ritual carried out there), which at the same time attempts to demonstrate the contention about methodological rigour. Hanson's demonstration of rigour consists in the organisation of his analysis into the basic steps of identifying the problem, assembling data, and generating hypotheses, as well as some subsidiary observations on how to carry out each step. If following these steps constitutes scientific rigour, then it can be easily conceded that humanistic anthropology, if not all scholarly inquiry, can be scientifically rigorous. Hanson does not approach the deeper and time-honoured debate of whether the operations through which one ultimately apprehends or perceives “meaning” as a datum, can or ought to be made rigorous in any of the ways characteristic of the operations of the natural and some versions of social science (quantification, instrumentation, and, hence, supposedly, replication or replicability by independent observers).
Regarding the actual analysis of the meaning of the latrine and its rituals, there are several positive achievements. Hanson's characterisation of previous scholarship brings out some subtleties of difference in earlier theories (especially those of Te Rangi Hiroa, J. Prytz Johansen, Jean Smith, and Anne Salmond). Drawing to a considerable extent on previous models, Hanson views the beam as a kind of boundary and “portal” through which tapu passes between human and spiritual worlds. Much of Hanson's discussion makes sense; and, further, his observations on the latrine are integrated (though only in very general terms) with other data, such as Maori beliefs about the noa-rendering properties of the female, in particular the vagina, which Hanson argues can similarly be seen as such a portal of tapu between worlds.
Of perhaps wider significance is the view that Hanson, in the context of these analyses, develops concerning the nature of tapu, a view which turns on a link between tapu and atua (which Hanson glosses as “god” or “spirit”). For the general proposition that in Maori thought tapu is held to originate from and to bear some ongoing general relation to atua, there is ample evidence.
But Hanson goes far beyond this, viewing tapu as proximate, direct, specific “atua influence”. For Hanson, the tapu state consists of being under atua influence, while the state of noa consists of being free from atua influence; acts of laying or lifting tapu consist of calling atua or atua influence from the spiritual to the human world or sending them (it) back; the seeming multiplicity of meanings attached to “tapu” (e.g., “sacred” in some contexts, “polluted” in others) follows from the various types of atua (e.g., “dangerous”, “benevolent”) involved. Control of tapu seems to amount to control of atua. Hanson's hypothesis is interesting; but much of the evidence he cites in supporting his view of a proximate interrelation of tapu and atua, I read as supporting only a more general relation. I question whether tapu is to be so fully subsumed within a theory of (to invoke an old anthropological term) animism.- 552
CORDWELL, Justine M. (ed.): The Visual Arts. Plastic and Graphic. World Anthropology Series. The Hague (Paris & New York), Mouton Publishers, 1979. xii, 818pp., figs, plates, maps, tables. Price DM 150.
Peter Crowe Pacific Arts Association
Six years elapsed between the occasion which inspired this book and its publication. This review is belated too, at a point where the ideas and attitudes towards the study of the visual arts, as expressed at the IXth International Congress of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences held in Chicago in 1973, are already a decade old. A volume on The Performing Arts (for review see McAlpine 1983) arose from the same meetings. The editor of this volume hints that many participants were so stimulated by the Congress proceedings that, realising shortcomings in their papers, revisions were essential—and this took time. For some people, the Congress appeared to mark a watershed in the history of art studies under the anthropological umbrella. An atmosphere of enthusiasm and feelings that new ground was being broken pervade the transcripts of the pre-Congress and Congressional sessions. These transcripts are given at length (80 pages) and provide the reader with a sense of participation. They also reveal how art experts talk with each other: that they stutter and get confused as much as they can be to the point, that few of them talk the way they write.
But one has to ask in what intellectual catacombs had so many of these art scholars been hiding? Why did a structuralist, a rules-of-this-art or “grammatical” approach borrowed from linguistic methods, seem so surprisingly new to them? Why did the editor feel she had to draw attention (p.2) to “art historians who have become increasingly aware of the importance of the responses of their informants in the field as these pertain to rules of appropriateness and of esthetic tastes”—and then cite only one such paper within (Fernandez on the Fang)? Was there a dead hand in an art history approach, of a certain kind, to be overcome? Was this a bunch of art scholars trying to bring itself up to date with the kind of intellectual currents running through the rest of the social sciences? Who were these people and where did they come from?
Thanks to the biographical notes supplied by 26 of the 32 authors, one can say their average age in 1973 was 47 years. Nineteen of them came from North America, none directly from South America, 11 from Europe (with eight from the Eastern bloc) and two from Asia (Taiwan and India, but happening then to be in USA). Africa was the most popular subject area discussed at the Congress, but only one paper from an African (Elkin Sithole of Swaziland) was given—and then it was not published. Nobody from Australasia or the Pacific contributed a paper, except that one from a retired person who had had a period at the - 553 Australian Museum looking at chalk figures from the Bismarcks (see pp. 351-63) and another by a Czech on Arnhem Land painted bark shelters (pp. 365-9) dealt with the area. Indeed, it is surprising that no-one I can recognise from the lists of names at Chicago 1973 seems to have overlapped with the Pacific Arts Association (PAA) in subsequent years. (PAA arose from the Second International Symposium of the Arts of Oceania; the first such Symposium had been held in Hamilton, Ontario, in 1974, organised by S. M. Mead—cf. JPS 90(2):155-224.
Evidencing widespread interest at Chicago 1973, the audience for the Congress session on the visual and performing arts chaired by editor Justine Cordwell numbered about 500, to whom simultaneous translations in five (unspecified) languages were offered. At this session the papers were previewed, and nine questions previously arrived at by the art investigators were put, as a basis for discussion, with the floor. These were about affective response and the boundaries of affective events, the nature of communication between artists and audience, how to appreciate art cross-culturally, the difference between creative and appreciative activities, the relation between aesthetics and social structure, the limits of measurements and questions of new directions. If these really were the urgent, fresh questions of 1973, one might be incredulous nowadays—but consider what the average North American author in this volume, born as he statistically was in the late 1920s, would have been reading as worthy works in the 1950s as a maturing student. In 1955 he would have been able to buy the first reprint of Boas’ Primitive Art since 1928 (i.e., a work written when he was born) and by 1962 he would have been able, if he wished, to thank Douglas Fraser for publishing his Primitive Art.
My strong impression is that many participants felt they had languished in a fusty museum milieu, that their subject of concern had been relegated to the status of a “cinderella” (cf. Crowe 1981:179) vis-a-vis the all-consuming politico-economic imperatives of an (anthropological?) establishment, and it was time to modernise. In Justine Cordwell as convenor/editor they found a woman of drive and enthusiasm determined to make the study of mankind's arts as important as any other aspect of anthropological concern. The results in this book are uneven, but the best papers made the effort worthwhile. While reading the book a single sentence of Boas’ (1955:300) kept occurring to me, a sentence that shows the old man was himself, too, oppressed by conventional imperatives, that of course art was by its very nature secondary in importance in the scheme of life: “We recognise in a study of the art of each people that the amount they produce is in direct relation to the amount of their leisure.” I don't suppose it is necessary to retort that making the cave-paintings of the game was an essential preliminary to the hunting, and therefore integral to the food-gathering operations.
There are five parts to the book, and far too many papers to remark upon - 554 individually. The authors mentioned are some who caught the reviewer's attention. Theory and “methodology” (why not simply “method”?) is the concern of Part One. It is dominated by Jon Muller's structuralist essay on art style analysis, with a demonstration of his method of Lick Creek shell gorgets (found in archaeological sites in the Carolina states in USA). Muller writers clearly, persuasively and at times provocatively. He tested earlier versions of his theories on linguists such as Dell Hymes (see note on p.200). The introductory section is followed by another on the traditions of the study of art, then comes his theory of what is style in art before he shows how his analytic method actually works with the deduced grammar of the gorget decorations. Muller says, inter alia, he has a basic tenet that “artistic behaviour cannot be separated from the rest of human behaviour without doing violence to both art and culture.” The other articles in this part deserve a kind of symposium satisfecit designation (e.g., “O.K. to refund fares and accommodation”) in that one seems to have read the same kind of stuff elsewhere in another social science album. O. P. Joshi fails to say anything new below his grandiose title “An inquiry into the nature of folktales and folk arts” and thus disappoints those who might be interested in Rajasthani popular legends, beyond mere description.
Part Two is called “Art in its cultural setting” and would seem with such a heading to promise enlightened art ethnology. Susan Vogel's comparison of Baule and Yoruba art criticism is interesting for its attempts to penetrate cognitive matters. Part Three is about art and change and has 10 papers altogether, including one from Cordwell herself, which she says is “concerned with the unpredictability of sources of change [in art], whether these arise within creative individuals or their clients, or come from influences outside the indigenous culture.” The papers on art and archaeology in the next part are four in number, from purely descriptive to (again) quasi-linguistically analytic. The final section, Part Five, begins with a fun analysis and history of the Pasadena Tournament of Roses parade, a Southern Californian event held annually since 1890 (hardly a “flake” event anymore). And then—oh gloom!—there is a row of earnest and very scientific accounts of folk and popular arts in Eastern Europe. One supposes that such honest work is the kind that gives status to the folkish “authenticity” of travelling State Folkloric Theatres.
This book will find a place on the shelves of those who have a particular interest in the development of art analysis outside the cultivated Western traditions. It will provide ethnographic information on the arts in their cultural contexts in a number of areas, especially Africa. It will provide within one set of covers an array of possible approaches to the study of the arts from which a student might make a choice. It may prove for some to be an interesting bedside book, world-tripping via the arts. Not the least point of value is the 746 entries in the bibliographies, many recondite. The book is rather expensive for the private pocket, but it is certainly one that libraries should obtain. It must have been a hell of a tome to edit.- 555
LEACH, B. Foss and Helen M. LEACH (eds): Prehistoric Man in Palliser Bay. National Museum of New Zealand Bulletin 21. Wellington, National Museum of New Zealand, 1979. vi, 272 pp., figs, tables, maps, n.p. (paper).
B. G. McFadgen N.Z. Historic Places Trust Wellington
The discussion of climate change as an explanation for culture change in prehistoric New Zealand has waxed and waned for more than 30 years. It has recently been revived by Drs Foss and Helen Leach to explain changes in prehistoric culture and environment in Palliser Bay and this time there is a strong body of evidence, both in New Zealand and overseas, supporting the notion of climate change during the last 1000 years. The archaeological evidence and arguments are presented in this collection of 14 scientific papers, the results of three years’ archaeological research into the cultural and economic history of the southern Wairarapa region.
Field work was carried out between 1969 and 1972. It was the first major regional research programme in archaeology to be carried out in New Zealand, and the credit for organising and managing the programme through to publication goes to the two editors of the volume, Drs Helen and Foss Leach.
Archaeological sites were found on the Holocene coastal platform which is backed by steep hills rising several hundred metres, and in river valleys which extend inland for several kilometres. Radiocarbon dates indicate that extensive occupation occurred both on the coast and inland before the 15th century A.D.
In the first paper (“The Wairarapa Archaeological Research Programme”), - 556 B. F. Leach and H. M. Leach outline the scope and design of the programme and the reasons for choosing the Palliser Bay region. The research was undertaken by the Anthropology Department of Otago University to provide a regional sequence from a central location in New Zealand to balance those already known from Auckland and Otago, and also to investigate issues relating to the development of horticulture and the decline of moa-hunting. It is surprising, in view of the need for a regional sequence, that the results are not drawn together in the volume to provide one. However, the reader will find one in a later publication by B. F. Leach (1981). The protohistoric period is dealt with by G. Mair (“Maori Occupation in the Wairarapa during the Protohistoric Period”), who uses documentary sources to describe cultural changes occurring between 1769 and the early 1850s as a result of European influence.
Four papers follow which describe the results of excavations of prehistoric houses, shell middens, pits, terraces, gardens, a campsite, burials, and the ubiquitous stone rows (the most distinctive site type round Palliser Bay). N. J. Prickett (“Prehistoric Occupation in the Moikau Valley . . .”) examined a domestic site and demonstrates the 12th-13th century antiquity of the whare puni house style in New Zealand. A. J. Anderson (“Prehistoric Exploitation of Marine Resources at Black Rocks Point . . .”) compares modern and prehistoric populations of fish and shellfish and concludes that intertidal species were being overexploited in the 12th and 13th centuries. B. F. Leach (“Excavations in the Washpool Valley . . .”) gives an account of the excavations of nine sites which provide time control and information about environmental and cultural changes over the last 800 years—in particular, a gradual deterioration of the environment (a reduction in forest, an increase in grassland and erosion, and the consequent depletion of shellfish resources) that resulted in a shift in site location away from the coast and changes in fishing, fowling, and rock use. H. M. Leach (“Evidence of Prehistoric Gardens . . .”) describes the first major investigation into the origin and purpose of the stone rows and concludes that they were garden boundaries made from stones that had been cleared from cultivated ground.
Five papers analyse some of the remains found: K. Prickett (“The Stone Resources . . .”), D. G. Sutton (“The Prehistoric People . . .”), B. F. Leach and H. M. Leach (“Burial Positions and Orientations . . .”), I. W. G. Smith (“Prehistoric Sea Mammal Hunting . . .”), R. Wallace (“Landsnails from Archaeological Sites . . .”).
H. M. Leach and B. F. Leach (“Environmental Change in Palliser Bay”) review the New Zealand evidence for climate change in the last millennium and examine the relationship between climate change and local environmental and cultural changes. Implications of the evidence for prehistoric gardening are discussed by H. M. Leach (“The Significance of Early Horticulture . . .”), who considers that the probable crops grown were kumaras and gourds.
The concluding paper, by B. F. Leach and H. M. Leach (“Prehistoric Communities . . .”) draws on results of the preceding papers to trace the history of a model community from the time of first settlement until just before European contact. It describes a horticultural community which adapted to a coastal environment, climatically marginal for the plants grown, and the failure of that - 557 community to adapt to subsequent changes in the natural environment resulting from climatic deterioration and cultural interference. Unlike other parts of New Zealand, there were no moas to provide a bulk protein supply so the success of horticulture was critical to the community's survival.
About one third of New Zealand can be classed as marginal for tropical horticulture and since climate change effects wide areas, the inferred relationship between climate change and cultural change is an important and welcome alternative to earlier models of culture change based on successive migrations from Polynesia (Duff 1956) and cultural evolution (Green 1970). There are, however, two points about the inferred relationship that need clarification or correction. The first concerns the stratigraphic interpretation of a midden (site N168/22) at the mouth of the Washpool Valley that is important for the interpretation of the environmental and cultural changes documented in the Washpool Valley. The second concerns the probable effects of climate change on the environment of the Palliser Bay region.
The Washpool midden is divided into three levels of occupation dated A. D. 1180, 1350 and 1540. The two lowest levels are represented by structures (pits, fireplaces, burials, etc.) cut into the surface of an old sand dune and overlaid by midden lenses. The uppermost level is mainly windblown sand in which cultural items (including European) had become incidentally incorporated. Regrettably the stratigraphic interpretation of the midden is open to some doubt due to a discrepancy in the stratigraphic position of a fireplace called “hearth gamma” between the original report (Leach and Leach 1971) and this report: between the two reports the position has been changed from the first level to the second. The hearth, which has a radiocarbon date of A.D. 1470± 70, is important for dating the site; if the hearth belongs to the first level, then radiocarbon dates for the first level range from A.D. 1170 to 1470. This range of dates is quite wide, presumably because the dates are on charcoal (unidentified as to species) and the site is on a coast where driftwood would have been easily obtained. In view of the probable use of driftwood, the most likely date for the first level would be the youngest date, indicating a first occupation during the 15th century A.D. or later. Since radiocarbon dates from other Washpool Valley sites are on charcoals that are either unidentified or from long-lived trees and therefore give only maximum dates for occupation, a 15th century date for the Washpool midden agrees well with them, and could indicate that the environmental deterioration and cultural changes began only some 500 years ago.
An important cause of environmental change in the Palliser Bay region is considered to have been due to changes in the strength and frequency of north-westerly winds. These winds accompanying cold fronts are believed to have been stronger and more frequent during “unsettled” periods than during “settled” periods; the early part of the prehistoric period is characterised as “settled” (Little Climatic Optimum), the later part as “unsettled” or “stormy” (Little Ice Age). Increased windiness is thought to have affected marine exploitation, directly, by causing swell and reducing the number of days when fishing and shellfish collecting would have been possible, and, indirectly, through windthrow and desiccation which, coupled with slash and burn horticulture, is seen as the - 558 cause of erosion in the Washpool Valley resulting in slips, filling of the valley with shingle and, as a result of high sediment load in the river and more turbulent marine conditions, depletion of seaweed and shellfish beds near the river mouth.
Unfortunately, the argument for the importance of north-westerly winds is not substantiated by the key reference to wind damage. Thomson (1936b), who is quoted as describing forest destruction in the Tararua Mountains caused by north-westerly gales, actually described forest destruction caused by exceptionally strong south-easterly winds which accompanied a tropical cyclone (Thomson 1936a), Barnett 1938). The destruction caused by tropical cyclones through high winds and heavy rain is well established (Pain 1969, Tomlinson 1975), but it is possible that tropical cyclones were more frequent during “settled” periods than during “unsettled” periods (Lamb 1972: 132).
An alternative cause of the environmental changes is suggested by raised beach ridges which have been stranded by earthquakes on the Holocene coastal platform in Palliser Bay (Ghani 1978). Old slips in the Orongorongo Valley immediately west of Palliser Bay were probably caused by a large earthquake which uplifted the Wellington south coast in 1855 (Robbins 1958); today the valley is filled with shingle. The possibility that some of the inferred environmental changes in Palliser Bay were caused by an earthquake in prehistoric times should not be ignored.
In this publication bad editorial work (particularly of figures) and the two points that need to be clarified or corrected, suggest that some of the papers were not refereed. The volume is a collection of papers written originally as doctorate or master's theses and present the results of specific but related research projects. As many of the figures have been reproduced straight from the theses, they lack a uniformity of style (numbering, layout, captions) and some do not agree with a text which has to some extent been rewritten. For example, sites in the Washpool (Makotukutuku) Valley are numbered on figures as M1, M2 . . ., etc., and are referred to in the text by their NZ Archaeological Association site numbers. Some figures are out of order (e.g. 24, p. 111); other figures are missing scales (e.g. 6, p. 63, which shows 49 standardised size-frequency graphs for marine animals from middens at Black Rocks Point, has no vertical or horizontal axes). Figure 30 (p. 123) shows an excavated house plan with four centre postholes; Figure 31 (p. 126), a reconstruction of the house, shows five centre posts.
On the positive side the volume contains a wealth of information (artefact illustrations, site plans, tabulated faunal assemblages, and so on) which makes it a valuable archive for further archaeological research; furthermore, the theories and ideas presented in the volume deserve serious consideration. Allowing for the criticisms mentioned in this review, the volume represents an important piece of work and I have no hesitation in recommending it to anyone actively engaged in research into Maori prehistory.
SIMIONA, T. (ed.): E Au Tua Ta'ito Nō Te Kūki ‘Airani. Suva, Institute of Pacific Studies, University of the South Pacific, 1980. vii. 88 pp., line drawings. n.p. (paper).
Josephine Baddeley University of Auckland
This collection of legends from the Cook Islands has been arranged particularly for schoolchildren but it is also of interest to both Cook Islanders wishing to learn more traditional stories and to the student of folklore. Most of the islands in the Cook group are represented, but all the stories are written in Rarotongan, the official language of the Cook Islands, not the dialect in which they were originally told. The Rarotonga Maori used is simple colloquial prose rather than the obscure archaic Maori of the original versions. Where obscure expressions are used, they are often explained in the text. However, the writers have retained in their original form the pe'e ‘chants’ which are an integral part of the stories. - 560 Frequently, these mark a key sequence of events, and, being short and easily learnt, they serve as a type of mnemonic to assist in recalling the plot. The orthography of this book is unusual in its consistent use of glottal stops and macrons. This practice, previously neglected, enables the reader to distinguish clearly words which are spelt the same but have different meanings and pronunciation. The drawings with which the book is illustrated are designed not to supplement the information in the text, but rather to inspire the imagination of younger readers.
The choice of stories is very appropriate considering the readership for which the book is intended. The main themes of warfare, trickery and love are presented in a straightforward, unembellished way. The archetypal heroes of these legends are brave, crafty warriors who undertake long sea voyages, journey from this world to the spirit world, outwit their foes by devious means and seduce beautiful women. Some stories explain the derivation of place names and others the origin of certain idiomatic sayings. The stories do not have the detailed descriptions found in legends collected by Stephen Savage, but by concentrating on a lively storyline, are restricted to a length which will retain the younger readers’ interest. This book of traditional legends, collected by Cook Islanders themselves, indicates, I hope, a growing interest in disseminating and perpetuating such knowledge.
SORRENSON, M. P. K.: Maori Origins and Migrations. Auckland University Press/Oxford University Press, 1979. 102 pp., illus. Price NZ$5.85 (paper).
Stephen O'Regan Wellington Teachers College
Sorrenson subtitles his book The Genesis of some Pakeha Myths and Legends and emphasises in his preface that his concern is with “some modern myths and legends about not by Maoris”. His focus is the development and evolution of both scholarly and unscholarly theories about the origins, migrations and cultural character of the Maori.
The scholars and intellectuals who initiated and engaged in theory and counter-theory over more than a century were, almost without exception, Pakeha. This remains true in the present. Their theories were heavily shaped by their own Western academic tradition and philosophies as well as by the current thinking of contemporary Europe. Despite this derivation, the debate was peculiarly indigenous. It provided a forum for a specifically New Zealand intellectual concern, a point of departure from the “colonial” mind-set to a body of ideas rooted in New Zealand and nowhere else. In this context the debate about Maori origins and the nature of Maori tradition may have assisted, and been assisted by, the emergent sense of national identity about the turn of the century. Sorrenson - 561 suggests as much in his conclusion. Today a much broader spectrum of studies provides a more internationalised and professional perspective on man in the Pacific. The amateurish passion of the past has been displaced, the issues are no longer popular, least of all, perhaps, among the people whose Maori and Polynesian past is being addressed. Even well-educated Maori are inclined to dismiss the whole area as “Pakeha theory”. In this brief biography of ideas Sorrenson's major accomplishment is to trace the evolution of a new myth. There is little enough attention to the motive for this evolution or to the values, visions and personalities of the contributors. He has opened up rich ground for further cultivation.
From the early observations of the methodical Cook and his fellow explorers to the earnest theorising of the missionaries and the speculation of various educated European visitors there soon accumulated a body of ideas about “the whence of the Maori”, as S. P. Smith was later to call the subject. The more objective observations of the explorers were limited by the narrow range of Maori contact they were able to experience but they were, at least, relatively free from the intrusion of contemporary European speculation on human origins and dispersal.
The notion that the Maori was of Semitic origin and derived from one of the lost tribes of Israel has been widely ascribed to the “missionary viewpoint” but should more reasonably be confined to those scripturally reliant fundamentalists such as Marsden. The theory was advanced with a fair measure of self-interest in that it provided Maori with areas of scripture with which they could identify and to which they could relate. This, it was hoped, would render the missionary message more appealing. It also provided this class of missionary with some respectable rationalisations within which they could construct responses to Maori customs and values. By providing an explanation for the Maori “fall” it could, in reverse, allow for the possibility of Maori salvation. At the same time it could comfortably accommodate racist assumptions of European superiority. How much such notions really mattered to those beyond the circle of missionary influence is difficult to assess but they were to have an influential role in Maori resistance movements later in the century.
Sorrenson selects a range of educated and inquiring visitors who lived for various periods in New Zealand. Men such as George Grey, the remarkable Edward Shortland, Richard Taylor, and Thomson (the surgeon of the 58th Regiment), were notable observers and collectors of tradition who are referred to only in connection with their views on Maori origins. Their larger contributions to our knowledge are necessarily excluded. It was men such as these whose collections of traditional material were to kindle the fires of imagination later fanned to full intensity by Smith, Tregear and Best, who were the driving force behind the establishment of the Polynesian Society in 1892.
Tregear's efforts to establish an Indo-European origin for the Maori from linguistic evidence and his assertion of “the Aryan Maori” never really recovered from the sophisticated ridicule poured on it by the Nelson lawyer and parliamentarian, A. S. Atkinson. Although his linguistic thesis was discredited, the idea of Aryan origins was later to be refurbished and developed into an integral part of the evolving “myth”.- 562
The redoubtable surveyor-general, S. P. Smith, and his younger supporter, Elsdon Best, were to have a much more pervasive influence. Both were inveterate collectors of tradition and their contribution in this respect is too readily neglected by their modern critics. It is, however, the constructs they imposed on the traditions with which Sorrenson is concerned. Smith, and to a lesser extent Best, used whakapapa or Maori genealogies to date the arrival of the Maori. When the oral testimony provided wide variations in the proposed chronology the whakapapa were averaged to provide single arrival dates for the migration canoes. Smith re-launched the idea of a fleet of canoes. This had been around for many years first having been advanced by the American naval officer, Hale. The arrival date and the fleet were brought together; all that was needed were some individuals to inhabit the theory. Two exploring ancestral figures of very restricted traditional provenance were generalised for the whole of the Maori people, some dates were applied to them and the admixture of the new “myth” was almost ready.
Von Haast's two-stage theory of human occupation of New Zealand, the first being a paleolithic culture based on moa-hunting, was refined into a model of prior occupation by a people known as Moriori. These were alleged to be an inferior, “primitive” people of Melanesian extraction. This rounded off the “myth”. The foregoing elements were combined into a theory which may be crudely summarised as the discovery of New Zealand in A.D. 850 by a Polynesian navigator named Kupe followed by another Polynesian named Toi, who led a migration which arrived in A.D. 1150. A Great Fleet of seven canoes carrying warlike, highly developed “Aryan” Maoris arrived in A.D. 1350. These latter combined with the Toi people to near exterminate the inferior Melanesian derived Moriori and drive their dispirited remnant off to the Chatham Islands. The whole movement was a testament to supreme navigational skills and a triumph of social organisation and leadership.
Considering Smith's construct in retrospect today, it is hard to credit that it ever gained currency and the reasons for this demand far more attention than Sorrenson is able to afford in this slim volume. It was not without its critics, notably Bishop Herbert Williams, a noted scholar and authority on Maori matters. The critics, however, were not widely heard. The currency of the theory probably owed much to the opportune time at which it was published, at that very time when, as is suggested above, New Zealand was busily inventing the body of historic myth so central to embryonic nationalism.
Whatever the reasons, by the mid-1920s the Smith-Best synthesis of Maori origin tradition was firmly established. Rare among the run of intellectual traditions it was also firmly established in the schools and two generations of compulsory education were to further entrench it. It remains, albeit diminished and tattered, in all too many classrooms to the present.
The emergence of the academic anthropologists and archaeologists such as Firth, Skinner, Duff and Simmons began the demolition. The development of more recent scholarship in linguistics, new branches of archaeology and manuscript translation has completed the task. Today no serious student relies on Smith's theory but it will be a long time yet before it disappears. The systematic - 563 analysis of the academic lacks the romantic appeal and essential simplicity of Smith's model. There is little synthesis of more recent scholarship and minimal penetration of New Zealand popular culture. In a community anxious for myths Kupe and the Fleet still have a firm place. As an elder once told me after a careful exposition of current thinking in this area, “Well, if it's not true, it ought to be!”
Sorrenson touches briefly on the irony of Maori acceptance of Smith's model whereas the exploration of the reasons and motives for this adoption would merit yet another volume. It clearly exercised considerable influence on Maori scholars such as Buck and Ngata although their acceptance was never unqualified. It may be that it was comfortably suited to their cultural and political needs. This seems particularly true of Ngata, who was deeply engaged in the rebuilding of Maori cultural confidence although it should be noted that he never allowed Smith's theory to interfere with his accounts of his own Ngati Porou tradition! If it fitted the latter it was acceptable, if not then Smith gave way! Buck, the cautious scientist, was more critically selective but even he willingly adopted the basic elements and chronology assembled by Smith.
The greater irony, though, lies in the degree to which Kupe and his successors have penetrated the Maori oral culture of the marae. Sorrenson suggests that the development of a common Maori identity is one of the reasons why the coming of a Great Fleet has become a living legend of such significance to all Maoris in the 20th century. While it is freely granted that certain tribal areas have fully integrated the “myth” into their regional culture, there are others which have ignored it completely. This is particularly true of those tribes which trace no descent from one of the “glorious seven” canoes and who have consistently refused to abandon the canoe traditions of their ancestors, cleaving resolutely to their own myth. Those deriving from Horouta, Mamari and Uruao traditions are examples. It is suggested here that Sorrenson should seek the sources of common Maori identity in more commonplace reasons.
Further, despite the currency of the “myth” in modern Maori oral culture in some areas, the question of how central it is to Maori belief needs to be asked. The possibility exists that, in particular traditions, it is more decorative than structural and, as in the case of Ngata's Poroutanga, if stressed by examination it would be abandoned.
This then is not the long-awaited synthesis to guide the student through the garden so vigorously turned over by the postwar scholars. That student is now reasonably schooled as to what cannot be said about Maori tradition. He is by no means as well placed in respect of what he can reasonably conclude about it. Increasingly he is sufficiently read in current literature and prehistory to fillet from the corpus of published accounts of tradition the bones of the old debate and its mokopuna sired by Smith. The disentangling of authentic tradition will be made easier and the conflicts more intelligible by Sorrenson's clear and systematic analaysis.
Like the “myth” itself, this book is attractive but for quite different reasons. It will exercise influence because it is presented with elegant precision and it is eminently readable. It will be popular with students because it is both brief and lucid. More importantly, despite its compression, it bears the stamp of authoritative scholarship.- 564
VAN WILLIGEN, John (ed.): Anthropology in Use: A Bibliographic Chronology of the Development of Applied Anthropology. Applied Anthropology Documentation Project, Margaret I. King Library, University of Kentucky. New York, Redgrave Publishing Co., 1980. 142 pp., indices. n.p. (paper).
Robert C. Kiste University of Hawaii
This volume's first 10 pages are a text which outlines the editor's purposes, discusses the nature and history of applied anthropology and makes some future projections. This prefaces a 322-entry bibliographic chronology of the development of applied anthropology. Each entry describes an applied activity, the date it was initiated, and relevant bibliographic citations. Each activity's geographic location is indicated by terminology current at the time (e.g., the British Solomons is used for events before the Solomons independence in 1978).
The book developed from the editor's experience in teaching applied anthropology. He accurately notes that a great amount of applied work has been poorly documented and little is available for instruction. This led to the creation of the Applied Anthropology Documentation Project at the Margaret I. King Library, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky, U.S.A. In developing the bibliography, the editor consulted his colleagues at Kentucky and almost 50 other individuals. The volume is intended, first, to improve access to existing case studies for practising applied anthropologists, and, second, to depict schematically the history of applied anthropology. The work is successful on both counts, and its use is facilitated by the provision of two indices. One lists persons and subjects, and the other is a geographical index.
At the outset, applied anthropology is defined as “anthropology put to use” (p. 1), and one is informed that it is “a complex of related, research based, instrumental activities which produce socially desired change or stability in specific cultural systems through the provision of data, the initiation of direct action and/ or the formulation of policy” (p. 3). Consistent with this definition, the bibliography focuses upon the cultural and social realms.
The editor correctly indicates that applied and academic anthropology developed together and that policy-oriented researches in some areas (e.g., health, land tenure, and law) seem to have occurred first in the applied area and were later adopted as legitimate topics by academics. The history of application is divided into three eras.
The first, “the predisciplinary period”, had no specific beginning and ended in 1860. It is characterised by a few documented cases in which cultural knowledge was used to solve practical problems and is represented by only the first seven entries. The first refers to Pope Gregory I's advice to missionaries in A.D. 596, and entry seven concerns the work of an American missionary in 1860.
Era two, “the research-consultant period”, followed with the emergence of anthropology as an academic discipline and ended in 1941 with the founding of - 565 the Society for Applied Anthropology. As implied, the main activity of applied anthropologists during this period was that of a researcher or consultant who was seldom involved in decision making. Policy research organisations, (e.g., Bureau of American Ethnology, Rhodes-Livingstone Institute) hired anthropologists to conduct field work. They were also used as administrative troubleshooters and in the training of colonial administrators. The era is represented by 82 entries (8-89).
The remaining 233 entries (90-322) represent era three, “the role-extension period”. It began with the Second World War when both British and American anthropologists became involved in a variety of war-related efforts. Essentially, the number of roles they played greatly increased. The trend continued after the war with involvement in social intervention. Specific examples are Sol Tax's “action anthropology”, Allen Holmberg's “research and development approach”, and the “community development movement”. Recent years have seen anthropologists involved in an even greater number of policy-relevant topics ranging from alcoholism to bilingual education. The editor agrees with those who predict that limited opportunities in academia will force far more anthropologists into non-academic positions and an even larger number of roles.
It is noted that role extension seems to have been carried furthest in North America, especially since the Second World War, and numbers support this view. Of the seven entries for the first era, two relate to American projects. For 82 entries of the second era, 29 are American, and for the 233 entries for the last era, 149 are projects in the United States. I strongly suspect, however, that American efforts are over-represented. The editor is an American working in the heartland of the United States. Because of the aforementioned problem, the poor documentation of applied work, it is certain that work in other areas of the world has escaped attention. Several reasons for the inadequate record are noted: many applied documents (reports, memos, etc.), are not appropriate for publication, ‘applied’ workers are commonly not in the “publish or perish” positions, applied articles are published outside the discipline's journals, and there are no journals which are exclusively dedicated to publishing applied anthropology on a timely basis. (The last mentioned will surely cause the readers of Human Organization to wince). In any event, the editor is acutely aware of the problem, and he puts out a call for materials to be sent to the Applied Anthropology Documentation Project.
Turning to the Pacific, an analysis of the bibliography is informative. There are no Pacific entries for the pre-1860 era. Of the 82 entries for the 1860-1941 era, eight relate to the Pacific. Radcliffe-Brown served as Director of Education, Kingdom of Tonga, from 1916-1919. F. Keesing investigated Hawaiian homesteading patterns in 1935. The other six entries are concerned with Australia's administration of Papua New Guinea in the 1920s, the work of Government anthropologists W. M. Strong, F. E. Williams, and W. P. Chinnery, and training schemes for colonial officers.
Of the 233 entries for the post-1941 era, 21 are about the Pacific. Twelve of these are concerned with the American administration of the U.S. Trust Territory, and 11 of the 12 were efforts initiated within the short period from 1944 to 1950, the early years of American involvement in Micronesia. The other nine - 566 entries are not concentrated in any one place; two, however, reflect that Australia continued training schemes after the war. A few entries relate to the efforts of individual anthropologists, e.g., Firth and Spillius during the famine on Tikopia in the early 1950s. Including the latter example, there are only four entries for the last two decades.
The reader is informed about the history of applied anthropology in the Pacific by this volume. While modest in scope there was sustained use of anthropologists in Papua New Guinea for over four decades. There was the flurry of activity in the early days of the U.S. Trust Territory, but the Americans soon lost interest in the practical uses of anthropology. It appears that no other colonial government made systematic use of anthropologists over a prolonged period and newly independent states are not inclined to look to a discipline whose practitioners are mainly derived from the former colonial powers. Offhand, however, I can think of at least a dozen anthropologists who have done applied work in recent years in the Pacific and a number in the United States have helped train Peace Corps volunteers. For the most part, their efforts have not appeared in the profession's journals, and there is what the editor calls a “fugitive literature” that is largely unknown. I hope that those who have been involved will respond to Van Willigen's call for contributions to the documentation project at Kentucky. New entries will be included in future editions of the bibliography, and the value of an already useful volume will be enhanced.