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People of the Sea: Identity and Descent among the Vezo of Madagascar
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Author: Rita Astuti.
ISBN-10: 0-521-02473-0 (0521024730)
ISBN-13: 978-0-521-02473-0 (9780521024730)
Language: English
No. of Pages: x + 188
Dimensions: 152mm x 229mm x 14mm

Item Identification Code (UID#): 1060
Shelving Location: Ethnography & Ethnology
Estimated Value: £19.00
Purchase Date: 19 March 2007
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People of the Sea

Identity and Descent among the Vezo of Madagascar

(Cambridge Studies in Social and Cultural Anthropology)
Cambridge University Press (2006). (First Published 1995)
Softcover Book

An anthropological analysis of what it means to be Vezo. The Vezo are an ethnic group of southwestern Madagascar who typically subsist on fishing.

Text from Back Cover

The Vezo, a fishing people of Western Madagascar, are known as 'the people who struggle with the sea'. Dr Astuti explores their identity, showing that it is established through what people do rather than being determined by descent. Vezo identity is a 'way of doing' rather than a 'state of being', performative rather than ethnic. However, her innovative analysis of Vezo kinship also uncovers an opposite form of identity based on descent, which she argues is the identity of the dead. By looking at key mortuary rituals that engage the relationship between the living and the dead, Dr Astuti develops a dual model of the Vezo person: the one defined contextually in the present, the other determined by the past.


  • Contents
  • List of Illustrations
  • Acknowledgments
  • 1. Introduction
  • 2. Acting Vezo in the present
  • 3. People without wisdom
  • 4. Avoiding ties and bonds
  • 5. Intermezzo
  • 6. Kinship in the present and in the future
  • 7. Separating life from death
  • 8. Working for the dead
  • 9. Conclusion
  • Notes
  • List of references
  • Index

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