Present Is Past: Some Uses of Tradition in Native Societies
by Marie Mauze (9780761806851)

Present Is Past: Some Uses of Tradition in Native Societies
Marie Mauze
Release Date: 10 December 1280
Format: Paperback
Pages: 242
Category: North America
ISBN: 9780761806851
ISBN-10: 0761806857

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.

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