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Changing Childhood in Polynesia: The Impact of Robert Levy's "Tahitians" on Psychological Anthropology in Oceania

Paula F. Levin
Ethos
Vol. 33, No. 4, Special Section in Honor of Robert I. Levy (Dec., 2005), pp. 467-474
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the American Anthropological Association
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3651853
Page Count: 8
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Changing Childhood in Polynesia: The Impact of Robert Levy's "Tahitians" on Psychological Anthropology in Oceania
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Abstract

For over 75 years, Pacific Island societies have been sites of pioneering and significant research on culture, child socialization, and psychological development. With the publication of Robert Levy's "Tahitians" in 1973, psychological anthropology in the Pacific was transformed. His analysis of psycho-cultural patterns among Tahitians advanced our understanding of how child socialization mediates between the bio-psychological template and the socio-cultural world. In the decades following Levy's study, household economic practices in rural French Polynesia changed dramatically. This article examines the impact of this social transformation on familial relations and cultural practices within the family. In particular, Levy's theories are used to explore the impact of these changes for the construction of personal experience, affect, and thought among rural Tahitian children.

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