First published in 1967, this book gives some of the fruits of the author's study of Tikopia ways of thought as the result of three field expeditions. Most Polynesians became Christians more than a century ago but Tikopia had a substantial pagan population until quite recent years. This book of essays describes rites and beliefs of a people who still maintained their traditional institutions remote from civilization. Studies of totemism, of magic and of beliefs in the fate of the soul in the afterworld, not only throw new light on Polynesian attitudes but also contribute some novel ideas to the interpretation of standard theoretical problems in social anthropology. Studies of rumour, suicide, and a new essay on spirit mediumship, also provide links between social anthropology and psychology. A general review based on the author's visit in 1966 describes the modern position after the adoption of Christianity.
1. Outline of Tikopia Culture 2. Ceremonies for Children 3. Privilege Ceremonies 4. Bond Friendship 5. Suicide and Risk-Taking 6. Rumour in a Primitive Society with a Note on the Theory of ‘Cargo’ Cults 7. The Meaning of Dreams 8. The Analysis of Mana: An Empirical Approach 9. The Sociology of ‘Magic’ 10. Ritual Adzes in Tikopia 11. Totemism in Polynesia 12. Economics and Ritual in Sago Extraction 13. The Plasticity of Myth 14. Individual Fantasy and Social Norms: Seances with Spirit Mediums 15. The Fate of the Soul 16. A Commentary
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