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Melanesian Tribes vs. Polynesian Chiefdoms: Recent Archaeological Assessment of a Classic Model of Sociopolitical Types in Oceania

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Title:Melanesian Tribes vs. Polynesian Chiefdoms: Recent Archaeological Assessment of a Classic Model of Sociopolitical Types in Oceania
Authors:Sand, Christophe
Keywords:Melanesia
Polynesia
Big Man society
Polynesian chiefdom
LC Subject Headings:Prehistoric peoples--Asia--Periodicals.
Prehistoric peoples--Oceania--Periodicals.
Asia--Antiquities--Periodicals.
Oceania--Antiquities--Periodicals.
East Asia--Antiquities--Periodicals.
Date Issued:2002
Publisher:University of Hawai'i Press (Honolulu)
Citation:Sand, C. 2002. Melanesian Tribes vs. Polynesian Chiefdoms: Recent Archaeological Assessment of a Classic Model of Sociopolitical Types in Oceania. Asian Perspectives 41 (2): 284-96.
Series:Volume 41
Number 2
Abstract:The late prehistoric period is crucial to the study of anthropology, as the area of Island Melanesia has provided the world with one of its great anthropological stereotypes, the "Big Man" society. This was developed by Sahlins (1963) on the basis of Oliver's (1955) ethnography of the Siwai of southern Bougainville as observed during the late 1930s. It has led to a gross ethnographic oversimplification of Melanesia as having Big Man societies, contrasted with Polynesia having chiefly societies. Where chiefs were found in Melanesia, their presence has often been interpreted as a cultural borrowing under Polynesian influence (Spriggs 1993: 198). KEYWORDS: Melanesia; Polynesia; Big Man society; Polynesian chiefdom.
URI:http://hdl.handle.net/10125/17176
ISSN:1535-8283 (E-ISSN)
0066-8435 (Print)
Appears in Collections: Asian Perspectives, 2002 - Volume 41, Number 2 (Fall)


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