In God's Image: The Metaculture of Fijian Christianity
Today, most indigenous Fijians are Christians, and the Methodist Church is the foundation of their social and political lives. Yet, as this thought-provoking study of life on rural Kadavu Island finds, Fijians also believe that their ancestors possessed an inherent strength that is lacking in the present day. Looking in particular at the interaction between the church and the traditional chiefly system, 1998 IDRF Fellow Matt Tomlinson finds that this belief about the superiority of the past provokes great anxiety, and that Fijians seek ways of recovering this strength through ritual and political action—Christianity itself simultaneously generates a sense of loss and the means of recuperation. To unravel the cultural dynamics of Christianity in Fiji, Tomlinson explores how this loss is expressed through everyday language and practices.