A'aisa's Gifts: A Study of Magic and the Self

A'aisa's Gifts: A Study of Magic and the Self

by Michele Stephen

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Overview


Filled with insight, provocative in its conclusions, A'aisa's Gifts is a groundbreaking ethnography of the Mekeo of Papua New Guinea and a valuable contribution to anthropological theory. Based on twenty years' fieldwork, this richly detailed study of Mekeo esoteric knowledge, cosmology, and self-conceptualizations recasts accepted notions about magic and selfhood. Drawing on accounts by Mekeo ritual experts and laypersons, this is the first book to demonstrate magic's profound role in creating the self. It also argues convincingly that dream reporting provides a natural context for self-reflection. In presenting its data, the book develops the concept of "autonomous imagination" into a new theoretical framework for exploring subjective imagery processes across cultures.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780520088290
Publisher: University of California Press
Publication date: 03/01/1995
Series: Studies in Melanesian Anthropology Series
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 412
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.92(d)

About the Author

Michele Stephen, Associate Professor of History, La Trobe University, Australia, is coeditor of The Religious Imagination in New Guinea (1989).

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsix
Introductionxi
Part IFrom Manifest to Hidden
1The Visible Ordering of Things3
2Manifest and Concealed29
3From Visible Things: Fieldwork 1969-197152
4To Hidden Things: Fieldwork 1980-198272
5A Distinctive Mode of Imagination93
Part IIDreaming and the Hidden Self
6Dreams111
7A Hidden Self131
8Dreams and Self-Knowledge145
Part IIIThe Sorrows of Knowledge
9The Traditions of Secret Knowledge177
10Two Dream Diviners: Josephina and Janet198
11Two Men of Knowledge: Alex and Francis210
12Observing a Man of Knowledge: Aisaga230
13Learning "Sorcery" Unawares246
14The Sorrows of Acquiring Knowledge266
15A'aisa's Gifts293
Part IVConclusion
16Magic, Self, and Autonomous Imagination315
Notes331
Bibliography351
Subject Index371
Author Index379

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