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At Home and in the FieldEthnographic Encounters in Asia and the Pacific Islands$
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Suzanne S. Finney, Mary Mostafanezhad, Guido Carlo Pigliasco, and Forrest Wade Young

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780824847593

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824847593.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM HAWAII SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.hawaii.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Hawaii University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in HSO for personal use.date: 04 August 2021

The Invisible Firewalker

The Invisible Firewalker

Negotiating Sentiment and Inalienable Possessions on a Fijian Island

(p.149) The Invisible Firewalker
At Home and in the Field

Guido Carlo Pigliasco

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter explores the impasses an ethnographer has encountered while collecting kinship information to map traditional knowledge in a Fijian village when his host refuses to acknowledge a parental tie. Central to the discussion is the Fijian firewalking ceremony, vilavilairevo, traditionally performed only by members of the Sawau people, upon which a genealogical chart of the ceremony's “custodians” had needed to be drafted. The chart could amend some of the bureaucratic errors present in the Vola ni Kawa Bula (an official register of native landowners), and also the Tukutuku Raraba (oral histories of Fijian groups recorded in past centuries by the Native Land Commission), reestablishing analogical relations between past and present events. Thus, navigating through village gossip, cultural faux pas, unhappy hosts, and government bureaucracies, this chapter unveils the local political economy of sentiment, respect, and reciprocity.

Keywords:   kinships, parental ties, Sawau people, vilavilairevo, firewalking ceremony, Fiji, genealogical charts, sentiment

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