A Reaction Paper to Bradd Shores Mana and Tapu

The author of this essay, Bradd Shore, focused on making generalizations about Polynesian conceptions of power, how men use this power, and how this affects their cultural practices and behavior.
He started by defining the word of mana, the supernatural or divine power and continued to give its sources. The evidence he used is the transformation of mana into two subsidiary notions, which are tapu (sacred) and noa (non-sacred, common).  He also showed the practices and rituals done by Polynesians even until this contemporary era.

Anthropology is always seemed as a good subject for me. It gives me that feeling of excitement anytime I read histories of civilizations and how they developed their culture. Through this reading I understood why Polynesians have their own culture. This reading gave me a very concise and clear view of the Polynesians perspective when it comes to power, may it be divine power or power in a group or a government. Western and eastern Polynesia may have different cultures but they have the same background, which has been believed to have been coming from the influences of the gods or spirits. This may be the reason why their religions have sets of practices and beliefs that are concerned with the ritual transformation of mana.

This state of power can be obtained through divine intervention or through procreation. Men are above women, which is why their chiefs are all men. Women are considered to be on the lower level because childbirth is only a passive sexual role for them. In my own opinion, culture has a big impact on the type and amount of power a man should possess, and also his role in the male-female relationship. Culture has its own way of representing itself and cannot be changed that easily. People might have different reactions to different cultures. But if one really wants to understand a specific culture, he or she has to understand the very beginning or the structure of the civilization, and not just to criticize its practices.


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