Now available from Waveland Press, the first detailed ethnographic study of the dominant cultural group in Madagascar, the Merina- -a society of over one million of South East Asian origin. Placing the Dead contains the first full-length study of the two most famous aspects of the culture of Madagascar: the existence of massive megalithic tombs and the complex funerary rituals, which involve the exhumation of the recently dead. Both of these aspects are explained in terms of their place in the belief system and social organization of the Merina people. The funerary rituals serve to reincorporate the Merina who have died--away from the traditional homeland-- into what they believe is the society of the ancestors by placing them in the tombs that stand on this traditional homeland. This reincorporation of the dead into an unchanging order based on kinship and traditional territorial association is the answer of the living to the precariousness of contractual ties in everyday political and economic life. Naturally, this study raises an interesting question: how do bilateral descent groups combine the element of choice with notions of descent? A close study of the relationship to tombs and the reinterpretive power of ritual provides the answer for the Merina case.
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Book Description Academic Press Inc, 1971. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 128091509