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The Growth of Species and the Making of Timeless Forms: Divine Objects and Extraordinary Bodies in Fijian Ritual Polities

Abramson, A; (2018) The Growth of Species and the Making of Timeless Forms: Divine Objects and Extraordinary Bodies in Fijian Ritual Polities. Oceania , 88 (1) pp. 55-68. 10.1002/ocea.5181. Green open access

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Abstract

Oceanic polities and social organizations are often characterized as life‐giving systems that reproduce specific modes of humanity in ritual cycles of cosmogony or in regenerative flows of ancestral substance and relatedness. These portrayals typically enforce a strong ontological contrast between the properties of human beings and those of their immortal forebears. This paper shows in detail how, far from reproducing human life as a dilution of ancestral timelessness in a specifically human realm, Fijian ritual polities act as ‘paradise machines’, working to assemble precisely configured axes of natural species, human beings, manufactured objects, ancestors, and divinities as simulacra of the mythically narrated and danced domain of Nakauvadra. By comprehending Fijian ritual polities as hopeful denials of specifically human being, light is shed upon the cosmological significance of familiar modes of ritual hierarchy and ceremonial gift‐giving, but also of technical synthesis that has as its mission the material recomposition of these axes of timeless forms and relations: or, as in the case of sorcery, their deathly technical negation.

Type: Article
Title: The Growth of Species and the Making of Timeless Forms: Divine Objects and Extraordinary Bodies in Fijian Ritual Polities
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1002/ocea.5181
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1002/ocea.5181
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Science & Technology, Life Sciences & Biomedicine, Anthropology, Fiji, ritual polities, timeless forms, species, material culture
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of SandHS > Dept of Anthropology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10048773
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