By Fredrik Barth
In interpreting the alterations that experience taken position within the mystery cosmological lore transmitted in male initiation ceremonies one of the Mountain okay of internal New Guinea, this ebook deals a brand new means of explaining how cultural swap happens. Professor Barth specializes in accounting for the neighborhood diversifications in cosmological traditions that exist one of the okay humans, who another way percentage mostly comparable cultures. Rejecting latest anthropological conception as insufficient for explaining this, Professor Barth constructs a brand new version of the mechanisms of cultural switch, emphasizing the position that particular creativity performs in it, and holding that cosmologies will be effectively understood provided that they're considered as wisdom within the strategy of communique, instead of as fastened our bodies of trust.
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Additional info for Cosmologies in the Making: A Generative Approach to Cultural Variation in Inner New Guinea
B e ing more senior and e xperi e nc � the novices in Bolovip s Katiamba n are shown a much fuller account of the elemen ts of clan sacra and cui� as one would reasonably expect But are the same basic ingredi e�ts there in the s h orter Baktaman version? My sources on these two initiations are li mite d to the verbal accounts of ri tu al seniors and novice participants ( but I do not think direct observation would have resolved all the diffi culties, since the contents of each rite is comple x and many laye red) One episode or sequ ence in the Bolovip account describes how s en iors collect the whitefalong foon flowers in the forest (if they find the m) They then mash pre- dried wa nim creepe r1 and a pitp it (tarrung im) which turns bl ac k when cooked, and mix them in a cont ain er made of the beiJy of a rat This mixture is fed to the novices under the arc of a rat' s tail, while they hold the white flowers in their hands, and a song making re fe rence to the Even ' .
We are observing a person performing his role, making a statement which is an individual statement, but one shaped and authorized by a group, and required by the college of other ritual seniors who are his audience to be acceptably coherent, moving and compelling. Social science is now well equipped to describe and analyse such interaction and social process from the point of view of a single participant; it is no longer necessary for us to choose between distinct templates of either a society which is a whole and more than the sum of its parts, or an individual composed of an internal psychodynamics and a set of external stimuli.
The dogmatic view is certainly that all cult activities are based on a received tradition from ancestors. Nor was I able to identify any distinct concept of innov ation at all, perhaps because the stepwise dramatic revelation of secrets through initiations dominates the individual experie nce and provides a templ ate that confl ates subjective novelty with o�ective innovation Do we have any way of discovering what happens to the cultural materials of any particular initiatio� during the years while they are ' stored' by the senior adept and when they are again made manife st at its next perfonnance: do innovations take place?
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