BALOMA MALINOWSKI PDF

Baloma is the spirit of the dead in Trobriand society, as studied by Bronislaw Malinowski , It plays a key role in conception ideologies and explains and maintains the matrilineal descent system by substituting the role of male sperm "fathers" with that of a spirit. The baloma is that spirit of a deceased lineage member which impregnates the women while bathing in the sea, perpetuating the matrilineage intragenerationally. The role of sexual intercourse is only indirectly related to conception within Trobriand mentality and seen as a way of opening the path for the baloma to enter the woman's womb.

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The Trobriand Islanders are one of the most thoroughly studied societies in the world. Mark Mosko makes a convincing case that some core aspects of Trobriand culture have eluded us and that comprehending those aspects solves major questions or mysteries in Trobriand ethnography. It will be recalled that Malinowski asserted that the biological father was a stranger to his offspring, without social or spiritual import to them.

Mosko responds that this is quite wrong. Rather, children are the product of both female and male material and spiritual stuff. As Mosko himself admits, not all ethnographers of the Trobriand Islands agree with his analysis; indeed, his interpretation goes against a century of description. For that matter, one of the strengths of the book is his critical engagement with those previous fieldworkers from Malinowski on.

And one of the prime strengths of his case is his field methodology, working over a long period of time with a team of local elders and experts. He certainly makes a compelling argument for his view of Trobriand culture, revealing profound and fascinating dimensions of cosmology and cosmogony and proving that there is still much to learn about the culture after all this time. Mark S. Please read our policy on commenting. All Rights Reserved. ISSN X. Skip to main content. Search Term. Link to Publisher's Website.

Ways of Baloma. Rethinking Magic and Kinship From the Trobriands. Malinowski Monographs. Chicago, IL:. University of Chicago Press. ISBN For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website. Log in.

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Baloma; the Spirits of the Dead in the Trobriand Islands

The Trobriand Islanders are one of the most thoroughly studied societies in the world. Mark Mosko makes a convincing case that some core aspects of Trobriand culture have eluded us and that comprehending those aspects solves major questions or mysteries in Trobriand ethnography. It will be recalled that Malinowski asserted that the biological father was a stranger to his offspring, without social or spiritual import to them. Mosko responds that this is quite wrong. Rather, children are the product of both female and male material and spiritual stuff.

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Ways of Baloma

Yet many conundrums remain. For example, Malinowski asserted that baloma spirits of the dead were responsible for procreation but had limited influence on their living descendants in magic and other matters, claims largely unchallenged by subsequent field investigators, until now. Mosko argues instead that these and virtually all contexts of indigenous sociality are conceived as sacrificial reciprocities between the mirror worlds that baloma and humans inhabit. This erudite and timely volume radically inverts much of the anthropological canon by offering a reinterpretation of Trobriand society that yields powerful new insights into kinship, magic, procreation, knowledge, representation and life itself. It is consequently an ethnography which has implications far beyond anthropology through its bold insistence that we acknowledge more fully the inextricability of any form of analytic category from the social context in which it is embedded. Contrary to what Malinowski wrote about them, the baloma are involved every day in all the activities of the people. The baloma are the key to understanding what are life and death, kinship and magic, sacrifices, the body and the soul for the Trobrianders.

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