Outriggers Lost in the sea of Time: An Overlooked Aspect of Cultural Change and Conditions for Sustainable Development in Oceania

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

A series of comparative studies is suggested, focused on perceptions of outrigger canoes, and aimed at an increased understanding of the relationship between social relations, biodiversity, and sustainable development in Oceanic societies on small islands and in coastal areas undergoing rapid cultural change. After a critique of the recent notion that canoe-building in Polynesia developed as a result of natural selection, and after discussing the declining local interest in outrigger canoes, it is argued that these canoes can be regarded as a "total social phenomenon" or "fact", in Marcel Mauss' sense of the term. By focusing on such a phenomenon/fact, it is possible to understand many other societal aspects to which it is connected, including gender relations, social structure, religion, perceptions of nature, economy, relationships between centre and periphery, and cultural change. With a focus on outrigger canoes, analyses should take into consideration the processes of imperialism, colonialism, acculturation, and modernisation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-12
JournalTraditional Marine Resource Management and Knowledge Information Bulletin
Issue number23
Publication statusPublished - 2008

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Social and Economic Geography

Keywords

  • outriggers
  • anthropology
  • canoes
  • Oceania
  • Polynesia
  • human ecology
  • Marcel Mauss

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