Traditional Micronesian Societies: Adaptation, Integration, and Political Organization in the Central Pacific

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9780824832483: Traditional Micronesian Societies: Adaptation, Integration, and Political Organization in the Central Pacific

Traditional Micronesian Societies explores the extraordinary successes of the ancient voyaging peoples who first settled the Central Pacific islands some two thousand years ago. They and their descendants devised social and cultural adaptations that have enabled them to survive―and thrive―under the most demanding environmental conditions. The dispersed matrilineal clans so typical of Micronesian societies ensure that every individual, every local family and lineage, and every community maintain close relations with the peoples of many other islands. When hurricanes and droughts or political struggles force a group to move, they are sure of being taken in by kin residing elsewhere. Out of this common theme, shared patterns of land tenure, political rule, philosophy, and even personal character have flowed.

To describe and explain Micronesian societies, the author begins with an overview of the region, including a brief consideration of the scholarly debate about whether Micronesia actually exists as a genuine and meaningful region. This is followed by an account of how Micronesia was originally settled, how its peoples adapted to conditions there, and how several basic adaptations diffused throughout the islands. He then considers the fundamental matters of descent (ideas about how individuals and groups are bound together through ties of kinship) and descent groups and the closely interlinked subjects of households, families, land, and labor. Because women form the core of the clans, their roles are particularly respected and their contributions to social life honored. Socio-political life, art, religion, and values are discussed in detail. Finally, the author examines a number of exceptions to these common Micronesian patterns of social life.

Traditional Micronesian Societies illustrates the idiosyncrasies of individual Micronesian communities and celebrates the Micronesians’ shared ability to adapt, survive, and thrive over millennia. At a time when global climate change has seized our imaginations, the Micronesians’ historical ability to cope with their watery environment is of the greatest relevance.

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About the Author:

Glenn Petersen is professor of anthropology and international affairs at Baruch College, City University of New York.

Review:

This overview of Micronesian traditional societies, based on more than 30 years of research, is one of the most significant contributions to Pacific studies of the past decade.... He targets three audiences: students in college and university anthropology classes covering Pacific Island societies; Micronesians, particularly youth who seek "an accessible, reliable and respectful account of their ancestors' lives"; and scholars of Oceanic societies. All three will find value in the work.... [The] volume will become the standard by which future synthetic treatments of Micronesia are judged. Summing Up: Essential. --Choice, May 2010 (47:9)

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Book Description University of Hawai i Press, United States, 2009. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Traditional Micronesian Societies explores the extraordinary successes of the ancient voyaging peoples who first settled the Central Pacific islands some two thousand years ago. They and their descendants devised social and cultural adaptations that have enabled them to survive-and thrive-under the most demanding environmental conditions. The dispersed matrilineal clans so typical of Micronesian societies ensure that every individual, every local family and lineage, and every community maintain close relations with the peoples of many other islands. When hurricanes and droughts or political struggles force a group to move, they are sure of being taken in by kin residing elsewhere. Out of this common theme, shared patterns of land tenure, political rule, philosophy, and even personal character have flowed. To describe and explain Micronesian societies, the author begins with an overview of the region, including a brief consideration of the scholarly debate about whether Micronesia actually exists as a genuine and meaningful region. This is followed by an account of how Micronesia was originally settled, how its peoples adapted to conditions there, and how several basic adaptations diffused throughout the islands. He then considers the fundamental matters of descent (ideas about how individuals and groups are bound together through ties of kinship) and descent groups and the closely interlinked subjects of households, families, land, and labor. Because women form the core of the clans, their roles are particularly respected and their contributions to social life honored. Socio-political life, art, religion, and values are discussed in detail. Finally, the author examines a number of exceptions to these common Micronesian patterns of social life. Bookseller Inventory # AAC9780824832483

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Book Description University of Hawai i Press, United States, 2009. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Traditional Micronesian Societies explores the extraordinary successes of the ancient voyaging peoples who first settled the Central Pacific islands some two thousand years ago. They and their descendants devised social and cultural adaptations that have enabled them to survive-and thrive-under the most demanding environmental conditions. The dispersed matrilineal clans so typical of Micronesian societies ensure that every individual, every local family and lineage, and every community maintain close relations with the peoples of many other islands. When hurricanes and droughts or political struggles force a group to move, they are sure of being taken in by kin residing elsewhere. Out of this common theme, shared patterns of land tenure, political rule, philosophy, and even personal character have flowed. To describe and explain Micronesian societies, the author begins with an overview of the region, including a brief consideration of the scholarly debate about whether Micronesia actually exists as a genuine and meaningful region. This is followed by an account of how Micronesia was originally settled, how its peoples adapted to conditions there, and how several basic adaptations diffused throughout the islands. He then considers the fundamental matters of descent (ideas about how individuals and groups are bound together through ties of kinship) and descent groups and the closely interlinked subjects of households, families, land, and labor. Because women form the core of the clans, their roles are particularly respected and their contributions to social life honored. Socio-political life, art, religion, and values are discussed in detail. Finally, the author examines a number of exceptions to these common Micronesian patterns of social life. Bookseller Inventory # AAC9780824832483

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