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Title: The animal world of the Mangaians
Author: Clerk, C. C.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3558 9888
Awarding Body: University College London (University of London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 1981
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This thesis is an ethnozoological study concerned with the role of animals in the life and worldview of a Polynesian community. It describes the categoris&tion of animals. and knowledge and be liefs concerning animals. among the people of Mangaia. Southern Cook Islands. Introductory material concerning theoretical approaches to animal classification and symbolism and providing background Inf'orrna t Lon on natural environment, history, and ethnography is followed by discussion of some basic features of Mangaian talk liboutanimals, including the applications of major category terms. Four central chapters provide extended accounts of 11~angaiancategories of fish. marine invertebrates, birds and land mammals, and terrestrial swall-life (principally lizards and lesser arthropods). They also describe hwnan interactions with animals of each group, giving brief accounts of the fishing. hunting, and food-collecting practices of both men and women. A subsequent chapter deals with the use of aniwals as food. Consideration is also given to the role of animals in spirit-omen beliefs. both in their attenuated modern form and in relation to traditional religion - the r.iangaian manifesta tion of Polynesian 'totemism'. A number of mythical accounts concerning animals are demonstrated to reflect aspects of traditional social structure. The main theoretical interests, in the description of classificatory structures and in the principles governing the selection of 'totemic' or otherwise ritually important species. are given fuller discussion in the final section. In the light of the 1.:angaiandata, a critical assessment is made of strict taxonomic models of folk classification with some consideration of alternative conceptions, including, in respect of categorystorage models, some recent approaches from cognitive psychology. It is argued that the spirit-omen animals of Mangaia have never formed a true totemic set and, the relevance of various approaches to 'totemic selection' having been assessed. that the selection of most is best understood in relation to the requirements for the fulfilloent of the spirit-omen function.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Zoology