What happened to cargo cults? Material religions in Melanesia and the West

Otto, Ton (2009) What happened to cargo cults? Material religions in Melanesia and the West. Social Analysis, 53 (1). pp. 82-102.

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Abstract

In contrast to a strong tendency in recent studies of Melanesian religious and political movements that want to discard the term 'cargo cult' for reasons of analytical—and ethical—inadequacy, this article argues that the term remains useful to delineate an empirical field for comparative purposes. Further, it suggests that the central moral and existential crisis that underlies cargo cults has to do with pressure on the traditional exchange system and concomitant notions of personhood and fairness. Finally, it argues that the study of cargo cults provides a vantage point for a culture-critical approach to Western society, as it challenges the sharp distinction between religious and economic values that makes it difficult to understand contemporary moral paradoxes.

Item ID: 9273
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: cargo cults; culture critique; millenarianism; economy and religion; Melanesia
Additional Information:

This article was also published as Otto, Ton (2010) What happened to cargo cults? Material religions in Melanesia and the West. In: Contemporary religiosities: Emergent Socialities and the Post-Nation-State. Berghan Books, pp. 82-102.

ISSN: 1558-5727
Date Deposited: 14 May 2010 01:27
FoR Codes: 16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1601 Anthropology > 160104 Social and Cultural Anthropology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970116 Expanding Knowledge through Studies of Human Society @ 50%
95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9504 Religion and Ethics > 950404 Religion and Society @ 50%
Citation Count from Scopus Scopus 5
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