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The Refusal of Holy Engagement: How Man-making Can Fail


Sansom, B, The Refusal of Holy Engagement: How Man-making Can Fail, Oceania: Devoted to The Study of The Indigenous Peoples of Australia, Melanesia, Micronesia, Indonesia, Polynesia and Insular Southeast Asia, 80, (1) pp. 24-57. ISSN 0029-8077 (2010) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright 2010 Oceania Publications

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DOI: doi:10.1002/j.1834-4461.2010.tb00070.x


Among Aboriginal Countrymen of the Darwin hinterland, a youth can be ceremonially circumcised only to emerge from the ceremony physically altered but unchanged in himself. Man-making can thus fail. To explain both the possibility and the consequences of crashing failure, the analyst attends to: (1) politics attendant on the maturation of males, (2) the relationship between the failed rite and the total structure for the performance of all 'Men's Business' and (most importantly) (3) the relationships between Dreamings and humans as players in the socio-religious formation (a concept derived from application of the Thomas theorem) in which there is human engagement with the holy. Argument establishes that (in logic) ontology precedes structure because the structure for holy engagement is built to accommodate prior constructions of both the human person and the personified Power that is a Dreaming.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Anthropology
Research Field:Social and cultural anthropology
Objective Division:Culture and Society
Objective Group:Other culture and society
Objective Field:Other culture and society not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Sansom, B (Professor Basil Sansom)
ID Code:67255
Year Published:2010
Web of Science® Times Cited:6
Deposited By:Riawunna
Deposited On:2011-03-01
Last Modified:2011-10-06
Downloads:2 View Download Statistics

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