Who was Polynesian? Who was Melanesian? Hybridity and ethnogenesis in the South Vanuatu Outliers

James Flexner, Stuart Bedford, Frederique Valentin

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    Archaeological constructions of past identities often rely more or less explicitly on contemporary notions of culture and community in ways that can sometimes oversimplify the past and present. The archaeology of European colonialism has shown the proliferation of 'hybrid' identities that emerged from relatively recent cross-cultural encounters (though this concept is not without its critics). We argue that this perspective can also inform interpretations of the deeper past, with specific reference to ongoing research in the Polynesian Outliers of Futuna and Aniwa, south Vanuatu. Polynesian Outliers represent precisely the kinds of cross-cultural spaces where hybrid identities likely emerged during the pre-European era. A theoretical approach drawing on archaeological approaches to hybridity and ethnogenetic theories applied to the south Vanuatu Outliers allows for a clearer understanding of the roles difference and familiarity played in identity formation in the past.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)403-426
    JournalJournal of Social Archaelology
    Volume19
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2019

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