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“I Cannot See the Day They Will Make a New Chief”: Historically Created Uncertainties about Sacred, Kingly, Populist and Secular Values in Lau, Fiji

Abstract : In Fiji, Lauan paramount chiefs have always been sacred - kingly and populist -, but through time they also became secular chiefs - representatives of the colonial power and later, politicians and statesmen. For some the status of sacred chief had to consolidate their secular status, for others, their status of secular chief was to receive the illusion of sacredness through title manipulation. The latter were even subject to territorial expansion. Chiefs themselves, whether secular, sacred or both, maintained a confusion between sacred and secular rights and duties. Recent fieldworks reveal a lot of grumbling and frustration among the Lauans as these facts created a multitude of points of view they increasingly expressed because of the absence of a paramount chief for thirteen years. This made them less respectful towards the title and resulted in the feeling to be able to do without a paramount chief. Same time, however, the contradictory idea that a chief is the only person who can restore the value of respect and order into the community is still vivid.
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https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01968479
Contributor : Simonne Pauwels Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Thursday, February 10, 2022 - 2:51:28 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, March 1, 2022 - 9:53:41 PM

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Simonne Pauwels. “I Cannot See the Day They Will Make a New Chief”: Historically Created Uncertainties about Sacred, Kingly, Populist and Secular Values in Lau, Fiji. Anthropologica, Canadian Anthropology Society (CASCA), 2019, Chiefs of the Pacific, 61 (2), pp.227-239. ⟨10.3138/anth.2018-0017.r3⟩. ⟨hal-01968479⟩

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