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Present is Past

by Marie Mauze

Present is Past Synopsis

This book belongs to a long tradition of thought on Native identity. However, in a more or less explicit manner, it intends to break away from other studies in the field. Instead of viewing identity in reference to a phantasmagorical past, it aims at setting up the framework within which identity can express and project itself into the future. The collection of essays shows that this future can evolve equally between the continuity of Natives' identity and their ability to innovate and to invent. In that respect, tradition appears as a technique of adjustment and adaptation to new conditions. The book explores the notion of tradition by both anthropologists and native peoples. The first part consists of three theoretical texts that discuss a number of general issues: the mechanisms of retroactive legitimation of tradition, the cognitive aspects of cultural transmission and the relationships between tradition and history. The second part is composed of case studies dealing for the most part with Native North Americans. One essay adds a comparative dimension being dedicated to the Maoris of New Zealand. Several contributions deal with aspects of expressive culture, native art and ceremonialism. In all these cases, identities that are being constructed have a twofold nature: one that is specific to the cultural groups concerned; the other that distinguishes these groups from the encompassing Euro-American world.

Book Information

ISBN: 9780761806851
Publication date: 28th July 1997
Author: Marie Mauze
Publisher: University Press of America
Format: Paperback / softback
Pagination: 250 pages
Categories: Sociology: customs & traditions, Social & cultural anthropology, ethnography, Development studies,

About Marie Mauze

Marie Mauz is a Research Scientist in the Laboratoire d'Anthropologie Sociale at Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in Paris.

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