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

Paperback(First Edition)

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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 , #13
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 404
Product dimensions: 6.14(w) x 9.21(h) x 0.90(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

Part I: From Manifest to Hidden
1 The Visible Ordering of Things 
2 Manifest and Concealed 
3 From Visible Things: Fieldwork 1969-1971 
4 To Hidden Things: Fieldwork 1980-1982 
5 A Distinctive Mode of Imagination 
Part II: Dreaming and the Hidden Self
6 Dreams 
7 A Hidden Self 
8 Dreams and Self-Knowledge 
Part Ill: The Sorrows of Knowledge
9 The Traditions of Secret Knowledge 
10 Two Dream Diviners: Josephina and Janet
11 Two Men of Knowledge: Alex and Francis 
12 Observing a Man of Knowledge: Aisaga 
13 Learning "Sorcery" Unawares 
14 The Sorrows of Acquiring Knowledge 
15 A'aisa's Gifts 
Part IV: Conclusion
16 Magic, Self, and Autonomous Imagination 
Subject Index 
Author Index 

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