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Principe de vie et ordre sociocosmique. Le façonnement des ancêtres à Wallis

Abstract : This text is the fifth chapter of a book whose title is Le façonnement des ancêtres (The crafting of ancestors). It delineates some characteristics of ancestorship in Wallis Is. (Western Polynesia). Starting from an analysis of vernacular categories and local practices, it points out the ceremonial dimension of the Wallisian conceptions of space and time as well as the relational definition of the person and its status. In this context, the concept of ancestor (kui) refers to composite entities, at once concrete and abstract: an ancestral name refers to all its living and dead holders, and their descendants; it also refers to the original household, to all its associated lands and to the obligations which must be fulfilled to preserve a membership there. The ancestral households are institutions on which are established the status of people and social groups, the latter’s existence being essentially ceremonial. Moreover, the network of ancestral households establishes, for each person, a topology of the valued genealogical references and a situated representation of the island’s space and history, because it has been experienced over the ceremonies. The reference to the ancestral households offers plural and dynamic patterns, on which many particular apprehensions of time and space are based according to the genealogy, experience, and choices of each person. Human actions are thus cast on these patterns, especially the ceremonial commitments which make them perceptible, and whose purpose is “to build” and “shape” them.
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Contributor : Sophie Chave-Dartoen <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, February 18, 2020 - 2:31:38 PM
Last modification on : Friday, January 15, 2021 - 9:23:17 AM

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Sophie Chave-Dartoen. Principe de vie et ordre sociocosmique. Le façonnement des ancêtres à Wallis. S. Chave-Dartoen; S. Rolland-Traina. Le Façonnement des ancêtres: Dimensions sociales, rituelles et politiques de l'ancestralité., Presses de L'INALCO, pp.155-176, 2019, 978-2-85831-296-2. ⟨10.4000/books.pressesinalco.19968.⟩. ⟨halshs-02483170⟩



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