BALOMA MALINOWSKI PDF

The Trobriand Islanders are one of the most thoroughly studied societies in the world. Mark Mosko makes a convincing case that some core aspects of Trobriand culture have eluded us and that comprehending those aspects solves major questions or mysteries in Trobriand ethnography. It will be recalled that Malinowski asserted that the biological father was a stranger to his offspring, without social or spiritual import to them. Mosko responds that this is quite wrong. Rather, children are the product of both female and male material and spiritual stuff. As Mosko himself admits, not all ethnographers of the Trobriand Islands agree with his analysis; indeed, his interpretation goes against a century of description.

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The Trobriand Islanders are one of the most thoroughly studied societies in the world. Mark Mosko makes a convincing case that some core aspects of Trobriand culture have eluded us and that comprehending those aspects solves major questions or mysteries in Trobriand ethnography. It will be recalled that Malinowski asserted that the biological father was a stranger to his offspring, without social or spiritual import to them. Mosko responds that this is quite wrong. Rather, children are the product of both female and male material and spiritual stuff.

As Mosko himself admits, not all ethnographers of the Trobriand Islands agree with his analysis; indeed, his interpretation goes against a century of description. For that matter, one of the strengths of the book is his critical engagement with those previous fieldworkers from Malinowski on.

And one of the prime strengths of his case is his field methodology, working over a long period of time with a team of local elders and experts. He certainly makes a compelling argument for his view of Trobriand culture, revealing profound and fascinating dimensions of cosmology and cosmogony and proving that there is still much to learn about the culture after all this time.

Mark S. Please read our policy on commenting. All Rights Reserved. ISSN X. Skip to main content. Search Term. Link to Publisher's Website. Ways of Baloma.

Rethinking Magic and Kinship From the Trobriands. Malinowski Monographs. Chicago, IL:. University of Chicago Press. ISBN For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website. Log in.

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Ways of Baloma

Yet many conundrums remain. For example, Malinowski asserted that baloma spirits of the dead were responsible for procreation but had limited influence on their living descendants in magic and other matters, claims largely unchallenged by subsequent field investigators, until now. Mosko argues instead that these and virtually all contexts of indigenous sociality are conceived as sacrificial reciprocities between the mirror worlds that baloma and humans inhabit. This erudite and timely volume radically inverts much of the anthropological canon by offering a reinterpretation of Trobriand society that yields powerful new insights into kinship, magic, procreation, knowledge, representation and life itself. It is consequently an ethnography which has implications far beyond anthropology through its bold insistence that we acknowledge more fully the inextricability of any form of analytic category from the social context in which it is embedded. Contrary to what Malinowski wrote about them, the baloma are involved every day in all the activities of the people. The baloma are the key to understanding what are life and death, kinship and magic, sacrifices, the body and the soul for the Trobrianders.

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Baloma; the Spirits of the Dead in the Trobriand Islands

This two-part article examines two such puzzles revolving around contradictory reports over the agencies involved in magical chants megwa. The words and acts have this power in their own right, and their action is direct and not mediated by any other agency. Their power is not derived from the authority of spirits or demons or supernatural beings. It is not conceived as having been wrested from nature. The belief in the power of words and rites as a fundamental and irreducible force is the ultimate, basic dogma of their magical creed. Trobriand Islanders and their culture as interpreted by Malinowski and subsequent fieldworkers and commentators have presented the discipline with numerous lasting conundrums. I stress this because, on the one hand, Malinowski e.

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The Trobriand Islanders of the Melanesian region, as well as many other cultures in the Australian and New Guinea regions, had a belief that there was no cause and effect relationship between sexual intercourse and pregnancy. As detailed in this monograph, the Trobrianders belived that the Baloma, the spirits of the dead, would return from the afterlife and impregnate women when they bathed in the lagoon, thus reincarnating the dead ancestor. This often cited monograph by one of the founders of modern ethnography is a classic of the field. Malinowski makes a breakthrough observation this is not just a quaint lack of scientific understanding by 'natives'; it is part of an entire cultural complex that makes as much sense as any other, relatively speaking. He makes the point that no set of beliefs can be studied in isolation from the rest of society. Anthropology should not be the haphazard collection of random customs and artifacts, as it had been up to that point. Rather, we need to study cultures on their own terms in a systematic fashion.

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