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Sacred Revenge in Oceania

Sacred Revenge in Oceania

Revenge is an important motivation in human affairs relating to conflict and violence, and it is a notable feature in many societies within Oceania, where revenge is traditionally a sacred duty to the dead whose spirits demand it. Revenge instantiates a norm of reciprocity in the cosmos, ensuring a balance between violent and peaceful sequences of ritual action. Revenge further remains an important hidden factor in processes of violence beyond Oceania, revealing deep human propensities for retaliatory acts and the tendency to elevate these into principles of legitimacy. Sacred revenge may also be transcended through practices of wealth exchange.

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  • COPYRIGHT: © Pamela J. Stewart and Andrew Strathern 2019

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