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Making Sense of MicronesiaThe Logic of Pacific Island Culture$
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Francis X. S.J. Hezel

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780824836610

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824836610.001.0001

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Showing Respect

Showing Respect

(p.87) 7 Showing Respect
Making Sense of Micronesia

Francis X. Hezel

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter focuses on the importance of respect in Micronesia. Respect is one of the central concepts in island culture; the word is forever being used in the islands. Micronesians begin to learn the importance of respect within the circle of their family from the youngest age. Children learn to show respect for their parents and other elders in the family. The Micronesian family appears to be much more disciplined than its western counterpart. Children talk to one another quietly and keep silent when the adults are carrying on a discussion among themselves. The relationship between siblings, like the relationship between parents and children, is marked by respect. This chapter considers silence and distance as the main markers of respect in Micronesian culture, the importance of showing overt deference to chiefs and those who hold high titles, and the ways that an islander expresses dissent. It also discusses respect in relation to what the West dismisses as nepotism, which is seen as contrary to the standards of good governance.

Keywords:   respect, Micronesia, family, children, siblings, parents, Micronesian culture, deference, dissent, nepotism

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