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Sacred Revenge in Oceania


Part of Elements in Religion and Violence

  • Date Published: November 2018
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781108717328

£ 17.00

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About the Authors
  • 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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    Product details

    • Date Published: November 2018
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781108717328
    • length: 75 pages
    • dimensions: 179 x 127 x 5 mm
    • weight: 0.08kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Bellona Island
    'Payback', and its cosmic implications
    Revenge and sorcery-divination
    The genesis of exchange – Mount Hagen
    Historical complications in the revenge complex
    Peace-making in Hagen – A Reprise in Ongka's Account
    Maring and Melpa – from elementary to complex structures
    Variant ontologies – extensions of the model of sacred revenge
    Structures in history – The Enga
    Envoi: gifts and violence
    Broader contexts
    Some ending thoughts.

  • Authors

    Pamela J. Stewart, University of Pittsburgh

    Andrew Strathern, University of Pittsburgh

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