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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: 18 October 2021

A Question of Permission in Pohnpei

A Question of Permission in Pohnpei

(p.24) A Question of Permission in Pohnpei
At Home and in the Field

Suzanne S. Finney

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter reflects upon one researcher's struggles to gain local permission to conduct research from a paramount chief, nahnmwarki, of the island of Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia, despite official permission from the state government. The island has had a long and strong tradition of traditional authority within each of the five districts (wehi) that compose the island. The people respect the paramount chiefs of each wehi, who hold the title nahnmwarki. But their traditional authority is undermined by the Western-style political system that “runs” the country, with local, state, and national agencies operating largely outside the sphere of influence of the traditional leadership—hence leading to the research delay recounted in this chapter. Beyond revealing the complexities of actually carrying out research, the chapter illuminates some of the nuances of traditional chiefly power and cultural protocols in Pohnpei.

Keywords:   nahnmwarki, Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia, state government, traditional authority, traditional leadership, cultural protocols

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