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Title: Places, paths and persons : the landscape of kinship and history in southern Manggarai, Flores, Indonesia.
Author: Allerton, Catherine Lucy.
Awarding Body: London School of Economics and Political Science (University of London)
Current Institution: London School of Economics and Political Science (University of London)
Date of Award: 2001
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What is the connection between people and the landscape that surrounds them? How do changes in that landscape affect social life? This study of a dual-sited village community in southern Manggarai (eastern Indonesia) argues that places and pathways are crucially implicated in the constitution of persons and social relationships. Manggarai life takes place within a complex and contested 'landscape' of kinship and history, in which state policies and religious conversion are leading people to reinterpret traditional notions of growth, fertility and the land. In considering this landscape, the study connects literature on the southeast Asian 'House' with the analysis of transformative journeys, and descriptions of village layout and sacred geography with the ethnography of family intimacy. Rooms are shown to be central to the constitution of households and notions of siblingship, whilst ordinary houses are egalitarian collections of rooms, and sites of ritual remembering. Clan identity is embodied in the drum house, but the significance of this 'House' as a social institution is changing under the influence of state cultural politics. Marriage is conceptualised as creating 'paths' of relatedness, and individual alliance connections are maintained by emotional journeys along these paths. Within origin villages, named fields and sacred, stone platforms are potent signs both in and of history, but their absence in recently settled villages contributes to the ritual 'emptiness' of these sites. History is also revealed in the landscape through topogenies that relate ancestral journeys from place to place, and through the growth of seedling villages. However, recent histories have created new interpretations of this landscape. In particular, people engage with their community's division between a highland site and a lowland, satellite village by 'swinging' between the power of 'the outside', and the authority of the centred, ancestral interior.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Village life; Land; Fertility Anthropology Folklore Sociology Human services