Manifestations of Mana

ab 54,90 

Paul van der Grijp

Political Power and Divine Inspiration in Polynesia

ISBN 978-3-643-90496-6
Band-Nr. 9
Jahr 2014
Seiten 320
Bindung broschiert
Reihe Comparative Anthropological Studies in Society, Cosmology and Politics


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

Paul van der Grijp is Professor of
Anthropology at the Université Lumière in Lyon, France.