This section contains ethnographic articles closely mirroring my 1994 dissertation, thesis, or whatever you’d like to call it. Although the information is becoming dated, most still applies today—culture does not change all that quickly. Anyway, ethnographic enquiry takes aim at a society or culture’s deep-rooted structuration, sketching the contours of an existence that transforms through time, yet remains recognizable through time.
The community’s deep structures have endured whilst many details have changed. Given the rapid trajectory into life and on into death for most of the locals, a whole new generation has grown up although many of them have disappeared way before their time: this is the Mentawai way, a danse macabre where if you dodge the bullet of lethal disease before the age of ten, then it’s likely you’ll be around to be in with a chance to raise your own family.
It’s not surprising then that so much ritual practice is focused on the relationship between life and death. That is the essence of what is investigated and discussed in the eight articles.
- Introduction & Acknowledgements
- The Production of Social Spaces
- The Socio-Spatial Cosmos
- Houses & Heirlooms
- The Suku—Profiles & Interrelations
- Narratives of Differentiation: Muntogat, Rakrak, Sirubeiteteu, & the Ideology of Identity
- Entities of Life; Entities of Death
- Puliaijat for the Prevention; Pabete for the Cure