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Cargo Cults And Cognitive Science: The Dynamics Of Creativity And Repetition In The Pomio Kivung

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Chapter Summary

Garry Trompf 's work has explored the creative forms Christianity has assumed in Melanesia, and the various ways Christianity has been localised. He studied popular forms of Christianity as emerging Melanesian theologies of sin, punishment and redemption, and as part of the development of independent Melanesian churches. Using ethnography on the Pomio Kivung, the author analyses the inadequacies of recent cognitive science characterisations of repetition in cargo cult rituals. Focusing on local ontologies of oratory, ritual and mimesis, he also analyses the contradictions faced by cult movements seeking mainstream acceptance whilst still experimenting with the millenarian mimetic promise of myths and rituals. Whitehouse's oscillating model of ritual change treats the internal tension of the Kivung as boring logical discourses and routine rituals relieved by the rejuvenating eff ects of sensual images and mystery provided by breakaway movements.

Keywords: cargo cults; Christianity; cognitive science; Pomio Kivung



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