A study of the Vezo fishing people which examines their definition of their own identity.
The Vezo of western Madagascar are known as "the people who struggle with the sea." In their society, individual identity is established through what people do rather than being determined by descent or ethnicity, Astuti says--a way of doing rather than a state of being. But her analysis of Vezo kinship also reveals an opposite form of identity based on descent, which she argues is the identity of the dead. By looking at mortuary rituals that engage the relationship between the living and the dead, she develops a dual model of the Vezo person: one defined in the present, the other determined by the past. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)