Becoming Tongan: An Ethnography of Childhood

University of Hawaii Press
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"The sophisticated interweaving of theoretical analysis with rich descriptions of the everyday practices and experiences of Tongan children results in a highly readable account of children's behaviour and child-rearing practices in contemporary Tonga.... A welcome and valuable contribution to an emerging Pacific literature." --Journal of the Polynesian Society In this first detailed account of growing up in Tonga, Helen Morton focuses on the influence of anga fakatonga ("the Tongan way") in all facets of Tongan childhood, from the antenatal period to late adolescence. Childhood is a crucial period when cultural identity and notions of tradition are constructed, as well as beliefs about self, personhood, and emotion. Based on her anthropological fieldwork and her experiences in Tonga over several years, Morton traces the Tongan socialization process--from being vale (ignorant, socially incompetent) to becoming poto (clever, socially competent)--in fascinating detail. The socialization of emotion is also given detailed attention, especially the management of anger and emphasis on emotional restraint.
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University of Hawaii Press
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Published on
Dec 31, 1996
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Social Science / Anthropology / Cultural & Social
Social Science / Children's Studies
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