Nuaulu Religious Practices

The Frequency and Reproduction of Rituals in Moluccan Society

Roy F. Ellen

How religious practices are reproduced has become a major theoretical issue. This work examines data on Nuaulu ritual performances collected over a 30 year period, comparing different categories of event in terms of frequency and periodicity. It seeks to identify the influencing factors and the consequences for continuity.
Such an approach enables a focus on related issues: variation in performance, how rituals change in relation to material and social conditions, the connections between different ritual types, the way these interact as cycles, and the extent to which fidelity of transmission is underpinned by a common model or repertoire of elements.
This monograph brings to completion a long-term study of the religious behaviour of the Nuaulu, a people of the island of Seram in the Indonesian province of Maluku. Ethnographically, it is important for several reasons: the Nuaulu are one of the few animist societies remaining on Seram; the data emphasize patterns of practices in a part of Indonesia where studies have hitherto been more concerned with meaning and symbolic classification; and because Nuaulu live in an area where recent political tension has been between Christians and Muslims. Nuaulu are, paradoxically, both caught between these two groups, and apart from them.
Originally published with imprint KITLV Press (ISBN 9789067183918).
Full text (Open Access)

Nuaulu Religious Practices

The Frequency and Reproduction of Rituals in Moluccan Society

Series:

Roy F. Ellen

How religious practices are reproduced has become a major theoretical issue. This work examines data on Nuaulu ritual performances collected over a 30 year period, comparing different categories of event in terms of frequency and periodicity. It seeks to identify the influencing factors and the consequences for continuity.
Such an approach enables a focus on related issues: variation in performance, how rituals change in relation to material and social conditions, the connections between different ritual types, the way these interact as cycles, and the extent to which fidelity of transmission is underpinned by a common model or repertoire of elements.
This monograph brings to completion a long-term study of the religious behaviour of the Nuaulu, a people of the island of Seram in the Indonesian province of Maluku. Ethnographically, it is important for several reasons: the Nuaulu are one of the few animist societies remaining on Seram; the data emphasize patterns of practices in a part of Indonesia where studies have hitherto been more concerned with meaning and symbolic classification; and because Nuaulu live in an area where recent political tension has been between Christians and Muslims. Nuaulu are, paradoxically, both caught between these two groups, and apart from them.
Full text (Open Access)

Nuaulu Settlement and Ecology

An Approach to the Environmental Relations of an Eastern Indonesian Community

Series:

Roy F. Ellen

This book is about the pattern of settlement and ecology of the Nuaulu, a group of sedentary swidden cultivators and hunters of southcentral Seram (Eastern Indonesia). It has three inter-related aims: to describe and account for nuaulu settlement; to outline and exemplify a suitable method of assessing the fine inter-action of cultural and ecological variables in small scale communities; and to explore the usefulness of a generative form of analysis in this respect. The fieldwork among the Nuaulu was undertaken between December 1969 and May 1971, and again for three months in 1973. After some basic introductory information, the analysis proceeds by first examining the residential component of the settlement patterns in terms of the processes which determine its location, form and composition. Next, the role of non-domesticated resources in local ecology and the processes of settlement generation in the domesticated component of the Nuaulu environment is investigated. In the final section the general theoretical and methodological issues raised in the introduction are examined in the light of the preceeding analysis.

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