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How the missionary got his mana: Charles Elliot Fox and the power of name-exchange in Solomon Islands

Scott, Michael W. ORCID: 0000-0002-2301-6924 (2021) How the missionary got his mana: Charles Elliot Fox and the power of name-exchange in Solomon Islands. Oceania, 91 (1). 106 - 127. ISSN 0029-8077

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Identification Number: 10.1002/ocea.5286

Abstract

Charles Elliot Fox (1878–1977) was one of the Anglican Melanesian Mission's most emblematic figures, extending its reputation for scholarship and respect for Pacific traditions. Uniquely among the Mission's European figures, however, Fox is also credited with exceptional powers (mana). Based on archival research and ethnographic fieldwork among the Arosi (Makira, Solomon Islands), I argue that Fox's name-exchanges with Makirans have contributed in unrecognized ways to his reputation for mana. In so doing, I show how, in contrast with name-exchange in Polynesia, Arosi name-exchange implies the internalization of a gap between ontological categories that renders name-exchange partners two persons in one body, endowed with access to one another's being and ways. Fox's writings indicate that he understood this aspect of Arosi name-exchange as a prefiguration of the Christian doctrine of the incarnation. This understanding, in turn, shaped his mission method and motivated his otherwise puzzling claims that he was a Melanesian.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/18344461
Additional Information: © 2021 The Author
Divisions: Anthropology
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
Date Deposited: 13 Oct 2020 12:00
Last Modified: 20 Sep 2021 04:10
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/106971

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