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Traditional Micronesian SocietiesAdaptation, Integration, and Political Organization in the Central Pacific$
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Glenn Petersen

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780824832483

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824832483.001.0001

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Traditional Micronesian Societies and Modern Micronesian History

(p.226) Chapter 10 Epilogue
Traditional Micronesian Societies

Glenn Petersen

University of Hawai'i Press

This epilogue begins by summarizing key themes. This book has emphasized both that traditional Micronesian societies have much in common and that each society has responded to historical conditions in its own way. It focused in particular on the adaptive aspects of Micronesian social organization and culture and explained how the characteristic Micronesian matrilineal clans and lineages perform in a great variety of adaptive ways. The discussion then turns to how the appearance European explorers in Micronesia was no radical departure from what had happened in the past. It identifies two factors that prevented the penetration of outsiders into the islands from having greater impact than it did. First, because so many different sorts of foreigners were entering Micronesia, with quite divergent interests, there was no consistent pattern of exploitation or domination. Second, the islanders already possessed a great many traditional means of placing checks on abuses of power in their own societies, and they readily used some of them to hinder the impact of colonial administration.

Keywords:   Micronesian societies, social organization, culture, matrilineal clans, lineages

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