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The Sky Came down: Social Movements and Personhood in Mekeo Society

Steen Bergendorff
Oceania
Vol. 69, No. 2 (Dec., 1998), pp. 116-131
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40331666
Page Count: 16
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The Sky Came down: Social Movements and Personhood in Mekeo Society
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Abstract

This paper argues that the Mekeo cargo-cult centered on a young woman named Filo has to be understood in relation to local models of personhood and Mekeo social organization. It is argued that colonization brought a split between these two spheres of social life causing the movement, while the specific form taken by the movement has to be seen in relation to Mekeo models of personhood. Furthermore, the paper traces the social changes brought about by this movement to present day cargo activities that incorporate God, Jesus, The Virgin Mary and the Saints. Lastly it analyses how these beliefs compete for social hegemony with more traditionalist practices centered around the Mekeo sorcery complex.

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