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Journal articles

Les Morts et les Asticots : Palolo, calendrier et cosmologie à Malekula, Vanuatu

Abstract : In the South Pacific, the reproductive swarming period of the marine worm Palola viridis is an important temporal and ceremonial marker for many societies. This article discusses the ethnography of uses and representations relating to this annual event for the region of Malekula, Vanuatu. It compares the data collected on Atchin by Layard at the beginning of the 20th century with that produced by the author of this article more than 100 years later on the same island. It then compares the uses and representations of the worm on Atchin with those collected from the nearby Small Nambas in the southern part of Malekula. The study concludes on two hypotheses. The first suggests that where, at funerals, the dead and their spirits are sent far away on canoes, the social organization is holistic and the sea worm illustrates the periodic return of the ancestors, guarantors of social reproduction. Where, on the other hand, social units are autonomous and the corpses and spirits of the dead remain among the living, the sea worm is not a central feature of either cosmology or the calendar. The second hypothesis suggests that representations associated with the sea worm contributed to the rapid conversion to Christianity on Atchin.
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Contributor : Laurent Dousset Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Tuesday, January 25, 2022 - 7:09:30 AM
Last modification on : Wednesday, January 26, 2022 - 3:40:44 AM


  • HAL Id : halshs-03541892, version 1



Laurent Dousset. Les Morts et les Asticots : Palolo, calendrier et cosmologie à Malekula, Vanuatu. Anthropologie et sociétés, Québec : Département d'anthropologie, Faculté des sciences sociales, Université Laval, 2022, 45 (3). ⟨halshs-03541892⟩



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