To Remember the Faces of the Dead

that joined these moments into a story was the emotional tone that they shared ,
the feeling that accompanies remembering , the feeling of makai . Kaiagre was
the name of my initiator . He cooked the taro for me and for the rest of us boys ...

To Remember the Faces of the Dead

To Remember the Faces of the Dead

As he challenges classical semiological accounts of cultural representation in this ethnography of Melanesian religious phenomenology, Thomas Maschio shows that ritual and poetic performance are about the enactment, expression, and invention of the self. Maschio demonstrates how such emotions as nostalgia, anger, sadness, and grief are creatively transformed during the course of religious performance and expression into a form of cultural memory--one that juxtaposes a pattern of cultural meaning with the emotional feeling of plenitude the Melanesian Rauto call makai. Evoked during initiation, mourning, and agricultural rites, and figuring prominently in Rauto discourse about the self, makai joins personal memory to patterned sets of images and meanings that Westerners would call culture.

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