This concluding chapter discusses a few issues that might have not been clear in the preceding chapters. It begins with the assumption that Polynesia comprises a large cultural area showing remarkable similarities in language and culture. As far as anthropophagy is concerned, most contemporary ethnographers would deny that it is related to human sacrifice or ritual cannibalism. But the irony is that, like the lay public, scholars have, from the very beginning, believed that the Maori, Fijians, and Marquesans belonged to a group of man-eaters living in cannibal islands. This is not something, new because it has been said of several non-Western societies. It is therefore not a surprise that colonial sacrificial anthropophagy tended to lead into the man-eating myth. However, in many of the societies discussed, there were no corpses involved, but, rather, symbolic substitutes for the act of sacrificial anthropophagy. The chapter also discusses the hanging of skulls in shrines in Hawai'i and Tahiti that were postulated as the heads of sacrificial victims. However, unlike the common notion that these were sacrificial victims, the chapter concludes that these victims may be the result of rituals of sacrifice or battles. It also deals with the problems that arise in respect of cannibal talk. Such issues that might pave the way for disagreement on cannibal talk are myth, discourse on human sacrifices, and the two forms of cannibal talk: the dialogues of varying levels of complexity between people talking about cannibalism and generally misunderstanding the Other's discourse, and cannibal narratives which are deconstructed in order to show that these discourses are “empty.”
California Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.
If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.
To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.