Catalogue


Identity through history [electronic resource] : living stories in a Solomon Islands society /
Geoffrey M. White.
imprint
Cambridge ; New York : Cambridge University Press, 1991.
description
xv, 270 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.
ISBN
0521401720
format(s)
Book
More Details
imprint
Cambridge ; New York : Cambridge University Press, 1991.
isbn
0521401720
restrictions
Licensed for access by U. of T. users.
catalogue key
8364541
 
Includes bibliographical references ( p. [257]-264) and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 1992-10:
Both Melanesians and outsiders use lurid images of heathen violence and millenial cults as keys to understanding island life. Even on Santa Isabel an island in the Solomons where the population (members of the Anglican communion) has a reputation as peaceful people understand and adapt their political institutions, keeping in mind past violence (circa 1870) and conversion to the "light" of Christianity. In this quiet but masterful account, White retells Isabel history in relation to islanders' concerns. White gathers and interprets Isabel narratives, showing how islanders have shaped both Christianity and modern forms of government. He points out continuities in Isabel political ideas, explicating the forms taken by pacification and, for nearly a century, quests for island unity. The result is an analysis that recognizes the coherence in Melanesian past and present actions. Clearly written; recommended for advanced undergraduate as well as graduate and faculty readers. J. Kirkpatrick; Community Resources, Inc.
Reviews
Review Quotes
"A richly detailed, brilliantly conceived, and beautifully executed book, Identity through History is a quiet tour de force...The book is a pleasure to read and think with." American Anthropologist
"...a valuable addition to the historical anthropology of the Pacific." Margaret Jolly, Pacific Studies
"Geoffrey White's analysis of the manner in which the Cheke Holo of Santa Isabel in the Solomon Islands use their historical narratives to construct their history is a thoroughly intelligent book...wonderfully written: one leaves it wishing all groups had ethnographers as lucid and as concerned with getting things right." Contemporary Pacific
"Identity Through History is a brilliant ethnographic study of the construction of cultural identity in the Maringe subregion of Santa Isabel, Solomon Islands, where Geoffrey White carried out extensive fieldwork from 1974 to 1988....clearly written and carefully organized." Ethnohistory
"Identity through History provides a solid description of the ways in which the local production of history on Santa Isabel is also a production of identity." Pascal Boyer, Pacific Studies
"Meticulously researched and eloquently written...an elegant synthesis, a rigorously crafted history, and a superb ethnography." Journal of Interdisciplinary History
"White demonstrates with great force, no understanding of identity in the Solomon is possible without a detailed description of local histories, that is, of the processes whereby people produce a significant account of the events of conversion and colonisation." Pascal Boyer, King's College
'White's book is a rich and nuanced contribution to the literature on perceptions of the past and colonial change in the Pacific ... an important contribution to Pacific anthropology.' Man
'White's book is a rich and nuanced contribution to the literature on perceptions of the past and colonial change in the Pacific ... an important contribution to Pacific anthropology.'Man
‘White’s book is a rich and nuanced contribution to the literature on perceptions of the past and colonial change in the Pacific … an important contribution to Pacific anthropology.’Man
"White's book is a rich and nuanced contribution to the literature on perceptions of the past and colonial change in the Pacific." Man
"White's distinctive contribution is to connect his analysis of the social production of meaning with consideration of the person .... White's book is a sophisticated and pathbreaking addition to work in history and identity." Lin Poyer, University of Cincinnati
"With this fascinating, beautifully written study of Santa Isabel society and history, Geoffrey White presents a sympathetic and penetrating analysis of the psycho-historical processes underlying neo-traditionalism....I found myself equally impressed by the immediacy of history in Santa Isabel villagers' consciousness as by White's gift as a storyteller in his own right.... White's important book deserves careful study by Pacific historians and anthropologists." John Barker, Pacific Affairs
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, October 1992
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Description for Bookstore
This book is about the construction of cultural identity through narratives of shared history. It presents an anthropological study of processes of identity formation in a Solomon Islands society deeply affected by colonisation and Christianization.
Description for Library
This book is about the construction of cultural identity through narratives of shared history. It presents an anthropological study of processes of identity formation in a Solomon Islands society deeply affected by colonisation and Christianization. The author makes innovative use of work in psychological and historical anthropology. He analyses people's own histories of culture contact and change as a medium for creating understandings of self and community in shifting social and political circumstances.
Main Description
For people who live in small communities transformed by powerful outside forces, narrative accounts of culture contact and change create images of collective identity through the idiom of shared history. How may we understand the processes that make such accounts compelling for those who tell them? Why do some narratives acquire a kind of mythic status as they are told and retold in a variety of contexts and genres? Identity Through History attempts to explain how identity formation developed among the people of Santa Isabel in the Solomon Islands who were victimised by raiding headhunters in the nineteenth century, and then embraced Christianity around the turn of the century. Making innovative use of work in psychological and historical anthropology, Geoffrey White shows how these significant events were crucial to the community's view of itself in shifting social and political circumstances.
Main Description
For people who live in small communities transformed by powerful outside forces, narrative accounts of culture contact and change create images of collective identity through the idiom of shared history. How may we understand the processes that make such accounts compelling for those who tell them? Why do some narratives acquire a kind of mythic status as they are told and retold in a variety of contexts and genres? Identity Through History attempts to explain how identity formation developed among the people of Santa Isabel in the Solomon Islands who were victimized by raiding headhunters in the nineteenth century, and then embraced Christianity around the turn of the century. Making innovative use of work in psychological and historical anthropology, Geoffrey White shows how these significant events were crucial to the community's view of itself in shifting social and political circumstances.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgments
Introduction
Orientations
First encounters
Portraits of the past
Chiefs, persons and power
Transformations
Crisis and christianity
Conversions and consolidation
Narrations
Becoming Christian: playing with history
Missionary encounters: narrating the self
Revitalization
Collisions and convergence
The paramount chief: rites of renewal
Conclusion
Notes
References
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

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