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Title: Embodied memories and enacted ritual materials : processing the past in making and remaking Saisiyat identity in Taiwan
Author: Hu, C-yu
ISNI:       0000 0001 3583 0854
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2006
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This thesis aims to study the interrelationships between the memory, materiality, embodiment, ritual practices, and collective consciousness of the Saisiyat, a minority indigenous group in the northwest Taiwan. In order to understand how such a small, migrated and mixed society sustains a sense of continuity and collectivity despite experiencing intensive confrontations over histories, essential features of the mode of memory and the means of constructing memory in the local community are explored. Based on an extensive ethnographical study, this thesis places its central concern on the enlivened past and reproduced ancestral memories of the Saisiyat by analysing the material symbols and sensational actions that are highlighted in their ritual practices. I would argue that the Saisiyat mode of memory relies heavily on the material, sensory and non-verbal media. A sense of continuity is vividly and actively generated based on a set of materialized and embodied practices of social, cultural, and historical relevance. For these reasons, the material properties and sensory qualities derived from sacred objects, ritual foods, or patterned bodily actions are sophisticatedly identified and manifested as powerful mnemonic sign-devices. Through the entangled process of obj edification and embodiment, the ancestral connections are not only reified in the elaborated materiality and formality, but also experienced by the body and accumulated in the body. In sum, this thesis, on the one hand, explores the flexibility and capacity of material resources as substantial, transposable and reproducible linkages to the past. On the other hand, it also attempts to show that the Saisiyat past is constructed based on the intertwining materials and sensory forces through incorporating practices, which actively mediate the hybridity and craft the collective consciousness of acting beings in a rapid changing political-economic setting.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available