Marquesan Societies: Inequality and Political Transformation in Eastern Polynesia

Synopsis

Marquesan society has long captured the interest of observers, in part because of unfamiliar institutions such as polyandry. Based on a critical study of a wide range of sources, this is the first book to provide a clear account of early Marquesan social relations and culture. Thomas's analysis of a dynamic and highly fluid Chiefly society and its encounters with early European visitors and traders encompasses wider debates about the nature of gender relations in Polynesian societies, small scale hierarchical structures, cultural transformation, and longer-term change. Linking specific features of early Marquesan society, its contact with foreigners, and the longer-term transformations of eastern Polynesian societies, this will be a key source for Pacific studies.