Anthropology of religion : cargo cults
- When societies are brutally confronted with Western technology: study of consequences
- How this confrontation reveals some underlying characteristics of the religious organization of natives
This essay is based on Peter M.Worsley's work "Cargo Cults? and Andrew Lattas's "one Telephones, Cameras and Technology in West New Britain Cargo Cults?. Peter M. Worsley and Andrew Lattas both study a specific religious phenomenon which is cargo cults in Melanesia and in New Britain. This phenomenon is a cult that began in societies confronted brutally with Western technology. On the basis of these works I will try to show the consequences of this confrontation and how this confrontation reveals some underlying characteristics of the religious organization of natives. Andrew Lattas's work focuses on a specific example of a cargo cult in the Kaliai bush of West New Britain. The natives of that region have integrated some western customs in their religious cults. The explicit aim is to show how western technologies have changed the perception of the world and even the social values of the rural villagers of that region. To stress this impact he uses objects that are usually symbols of western societies such as telephones and cameras and he underlines how those objects are integrated by the Bush Kaliai cult by using their customary past and ancestral homelands.