Introduction: Mana Anew

Matt Tomlinson, Ty P. Kāwika Tengan

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


    Mana, like culture, is a term that once inspired anthropological theory but now lives an ambiguous half-life in scholarly discourse. The goal of this book is to refocus attention on mana for three reasons. First is the simple fact that many people in Oceania and elsewhere use the term prominently in political, religious, and artistic projects as well as everyday discourse. Although mainstream anthropological attention to mana waned at the end of the twentieth century, discourse about mana thrives in many Oceanic societies. It also circulates outside traditional Oceanic contexts�sometimes far outside, as in New Age movements, fantasy fiction and online gaming. The second reason to focus on mana anew is that it can offer scholars fresh insights about relationships between aesthetics, ethics, and power and authority. Third, a new focus on mana has the potential to generate new forms of anthropological practice. By engaging collaboratively with Indigenous communities on this specific topic, anthropologists, Indigenous and otherwise, can actively take part in developing new understandings of mana that have practical consequences�the production of new mana, in effect. The authors of the following chapters examine mana from multiple angles that converge on a single point: the contention that thinking about mana at this historical moment is ethnographically vital and theoretically promising in new ways.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationNew Mana: Transformations of a Classic Concept in Pacific Languages and Cultures
    Editors Matt Tomlinson and Ty P. Kawika Tengan
    Place of PublicationCanberra, Australia
    PublisherANU Press
    ISBN (Print)9781760460075
    Publication statusPublished - 2016


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