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Ancestors in Borneo Societies

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Ancestors in Borneo Societies
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Subtitle: Death, Transformation, and Social Immortality
Author/Editor: Pascal Couderc and Kenneth Sillander
New Pb 390 pp.
Subject: Southeast Asia,Social Studies,Malaysia,Indonesia
Condition: Good
Published: 2012

A major study that challenges classic ethnographic representations of ancestor worship.

Death, eschatology and exotic indigenous death ways have long held a privileged position in the ethnographic and popular literature on Borneo. Until the publication of this study, however, ancestors have remained a strangely neglected topic. Differing from classic ethnographic representations of ancestor worship based on Sino-African material, this volume will be not just of interest to regional specialists; it will also enrich the general anthropological theory of ancestors, kinship and religion.

Ancestors in Borneo Societies is a superlative collection of essays, a model of comparative analysis within an Austronesian framework. An excellent introduction established a clear framework, provides the appropriate context and develops a focus for the detailed examination of ideas of ancestry, while each of the eight chapters, based on extended fieldwork, offers dense ethnographic description. It is an intellectual pleasure to sink into and absorb what this book has to offer.’

– James J. Fox

‘Since Robert Hertz’s 1907 pioneering study, the island of Borneo has fed the theoretical debate on death and mortuary rites. So far, however, the question of ancestors has remained underexplored. In this volume, fresh scholarship, based on deep field experience and clearly departing from narrow anthropological concepts, examines the variety of contexts in which ancestors are manifested in relation to kinship, political authority, and religion, and offers a superior contribution to our theoretical understanding of ancestor ship – and a fascinating voyage into complex representations of the self, the should and the hereafter.’

– Bernard Sellato

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