Manual Body, Self, and Society: The View from Fiji (New Cultural Studies Series)

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Becker examines the cultural context of the embodied self through her ethnography of bodily aesthetics, food exchange, care, and social relationships in Fiji. On the other hand, because Fijians concern themselves with the cultivation of social relationships largely expressed through nurturing and food exchange, there is a vested interest in cultivating others' bodies rather than one's own. We will send you an SMS containing a verification code.

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Body, Self, and Society: The View from Fiji (New Cultural Studies Series)

Thank You! Sports Women sports wear Men sportswear Women athlatic shoes Men athlatic shoes. Food Cupboard Confectionery. Which international items are eligible for free shipping as part of the Amazon Global Store? Footwear is removed before one enters a house. Guests are expected to hesitate before entering a house and to seat themselves near the door until invited to proceed further.

A complex system of gift giving and receiving has existed for centuries. Sperm whale teeth tabua are the most precious items of exchange and are given at marriages, funerals and other important ritual occasions. Formal and lengthy speeches accompany the presentation of a whale's tooth.

Guests are given kava to drink to promote solidarity between kin, friends, and acquaintances. Among Indo-Fijians, domestic norms are determined by gender and age, although etiquette is less formal. Sons treat their fathers with great respect, and younger brothers defer to older brothers. Females are socially segregated, but urban living has eroded this practice.

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Religious Beliefs. The population is 53 percent Christian, 38 percent Hindu, and 8 percent Muslim, with small groups of Sikhs and people who profess no religion. The pre-Christian religion of the Fijians was both animistic and polytheistic, and included a cult of chiefly ancestors. There was belief in a life after death. Souls of the departed were thought both to travel to a land of the dead and at the same time to remain close to their graves.

Modern Christian Fijians still fear their spirit ancestors. Christianity was brought to the islands in the s primarily by Methodist missionaries. Other denominations became active after World War II, and fundamentalist and evangelical sects have grown in membership over the last two decades.

Indo-Fijian Hindus follow a variety of religious customs brought by their forebears from India and are divided between the reformed and the orthodox. The religious practices of Hindus, Muslims, and Sikhs inherited from India are characterized by fasts, feasts, and festivals as well as prescribed rituals that cover major life events. Religious Practitioners. Priests of the traditional Fijian religion were intermediaries between gods and men. Today, Protestant ministers, Catholic priests, and lay preachers are the dominant religious leaders of the Fijians.

In the Indo-Fijian community, religious scholars, holy men, and temple priests are the most important religious practitioners. Rituals and Holy Places. In the pre-Christian Fijian religion, every village had a temple where people made gifts to the gods through a priestly oracle. In the nineteenth century, those temples were torn down and replaced with Christian churches, which became showpieces of village architecture. Indo-Fijian Hinduism relies on stories, songs, and rituals to teach its precepts.

Ritualized readings of the Ramayana and worship before divine images at home or in a temple are important aspects of religious life. Annual ceremonies are sponsored by many temples. Death and the Afterlife. Death evokes strong emotional and elaborate ritual responses in both Fijian and Indo-Fijian communities. But here the similarities end. Ethnic Fijians, almost entirely Christian, have integrated church-focused Christian practices and beliefs with their traditional funerary customs of gift-giving, feasting, kava drinking, and observance of mourning restrictions.

Favoring burial over cremation, they also erect elaborate and colorful cloth decorations over their graves. Although Christian ideas of heaven and hell are thoroughly integrated into the Fijians' present-day belief system, old beliefs in the power of ancestral spirits still linger on. Among Indo-Fijians, Hindus may cremate their dead, though this is not the norm, as it is in India; Muslims insist on burial.

These two religions offer very different visions of life after death: Hindus assume that the deceased's soul will be reborn and Muslims are confident that the true believer will be rewarded with eternal life in paradise. Ethnic Fijians often attribute sickness to supernatural entities in their pre-Christian belief system.

Illnesses that are ascribed to natural causes are treated with Western medicine and medical practices, but illnesses that are thought to result from sorcery are treated by traditional healers, including seers, diviners, massage masters, and herbalists. Healing occurs in a ritual context as the forces of good battle those of evil. Muslims and Hindus also turn to religious leaders to request divine intervention in the case of illness.

Government-provided biomedical services are available at several hospitals, health centers, and nursing stations. The Fiji School of Medicine is affiliated with the University of the South Pacific, and there is a Fiji School of Nursing and specialist hospitals in Suva for the treatment of leprosy, psychological disorders, and tuberculosis. Treatment is not free but is heavily subsidized by the government.

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Government-subsidized contraception is available throughout the islands as part of the family planning program. None of these holidays provokes intense patriotic fervor. Support for the Arts. Most funding for the arts comes from the tourist industry and from galleries and studios, along with aid from foreign governments.

The USP's Oceania Center for Arts and Culture, founded in , sponsors workshops and holds exhibitions of paintings and sculpture as well as music and dance performances and poetry readings. Colorful storefronts in Levuka, Fiji. Urban architecture strongly reflects the influence of Fiji's western colonizers.

The Fijian tradition of storytelling around the kava bowl has been maintained, as have recitations of the Ramayana in Hindu homes and temples.

Fijian traditions and ceremonies

There is a small community of writers, many of them associated with the USP. Traditional legends and modern social analysis are common themes in Fijian literature, whereas Indo-Fijian literary works tend to concentrate on injustices during the period of indentured servitude. Graphic Arts.


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  5. Almost every Fijian girl learns the art of weaving baskets and mats for home and ceremonial use. The production of bark cloth is another traditional female skill; the cloth, which is used as traditional clothing and is still important in Fijian ceremonies, is now also sold to tourists in the form of wall hangings and handbags. War clubs, spears, decorated hooks, kava bowls, and "cannibal forks" are carved by men almost entirely for tourist consumption. Pottery is made by women. Performance Arts. The traditional dance theater meke combines singing, chanting, drumming, and stylized movements of the upper body to recreate stories, myths, and legends.

    Village-based, it is performed on special occasions such as the visit of a chief, a life-cycle event, or a ceremonial gift exchange. The Dance Theater of Fiji now choreographs these performances for modern audiences. Indo-Fijian and Chinese dances have been preserved and are taught in those communities. Ethnic Fijian choral singing is performed both during religious services and for secular entertainment; almost every village church has a choir. Western popular music is played live and on the radio. Among Indo-Fijians too, both secular and sacred music has maintained its popularity.

    The Institute of Pacific Studies publishes academic works in sociology, ethnology, religion, culture, and literature. The Institute of Fijian Language and Culture, which was founded in , has been working to produce a Fijian dictionary; it also produces radio and television programs.

    Arno, Andrew.

    Body, Self, and Society: The View from Fiji (New Cultural Studies Series) | KSA | Souq

    Becker, Anne E. Belshaw, Cyril S. Biturogoiwasa, Solomoni, with Anthony R.