Beneath the Volcano: Religion, Cosmology and Spirit Classification Among the Nage of Eastern Indonesia

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KITLV Press, Jan 1, 1998 - Religion - 369 pages
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Beneath the Volcano is the first major account of the Nage, who inhabit the central part of Flores in eastern Indonesia. The book focuses on Nage ideas concerning a variety of spiritual beings and how these influence both ritual practices and ideas about human beings. In exploring these subjects, the author sets out to uncover a classification of spirits. While quite different from taxonomies of natural beings, Nage ways of linking named categories of spirits nevertheless reveal a regular conceptual order. In describing this order, use is made of a version of Dumont's notion of 'encompassment'. Common ideas informing relations between Nage humans and several categories of spirits are further interpreted as instances of a pervasive principle of 'symmetric inversion', according to which human beings are spirits for the spirits.

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About the author (1998)

Gregory Forth is at present Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Alberta, Canada.