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People of the Sea
Identity and Descent among the Vezo of Madagascar


Part of Cambridge Studies in Social and Cultural Anthropology

  • Author: Rita Astuti, London School of Economics and Political Science
  • Date Published: March 2006
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521024730

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About the Authors
  • The Vezo, a fishing people of western Madagascar, are known as 'the people who struggle with the sea'. Dr Astuti explores their identity showing that it is established through what people do rather than being determined by descent. Vezo identity is a 'way of doing' rather than a 'state of being', performative rather than ethnic. However, her innovative analysis of Vezo kinship also uncovers an opposite form of identity based on descent, which she argues is the identity of the dead. By looking at key mortuary rituals that engage the relationship between the living and the dead, Dr Astuti develops a dual model of the Vezo person: the one defined contextually in the present, the other determined by the past.

    • Highly accessible to non-specialists
    • Of interest to specialists in both African and South-East Asian studies
    • Includes investigation of the psychological dimension of anthropology, which has recently become a popular subject especially in the US
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    Product details

    • Date Published: March 2006
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521024730
    • length: 204 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 151 x 14 mm
    • weight: 0.32kg
    • contains: 5 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    2. Acting Vezo in the present
    3. People without wisdom
    4. Avoiding ties and bonds
    5. Intermezzo
    6. Kinship in the present and in the future
    7. Separating life from death
    8. Working for the dead
    9. Conclusion
    List of references

  • Author

    Rita Astuti, London School of Economics and Political Science

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