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Journal Article

Ghosts and Government: A Structural Analysis of Alternative Institutions for Conflict Management in Samoa

Bradd Shore
Man
New Series, Vol. 13, No. 2 (Jun., 1978), pp. 175-199
DOI: 10.2307/2800244
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2800244
Page Count: 25
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Ghosts and Government: A Structural Analysis of Alternative Institutions for Conflict Management in Samoa
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Abstract

It is possible to isolate in modern Samoa two distinct sets of institutions which function in conflict management. Formal institutions include both traditional and introduced legal, police and juridical institutions which function (sometimes complementarily, sometimes competitively) in the resolution of certain kinds of social conflict. Covert institutions include an important sub-set which involves ghosts (aitu) as surrogate conflict-mediators. Covert and formal institutions appear to deal with logically different types of conflict, and this difference may be understood in relation to a structural analysis of Samoan relationship types.

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