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By Ron Brunton

Ron Brunton revives an issue posed by means of the nice anthropologist W. H. R. Rivers in historical past of Melanesian Society (1914): the best way to clarify the unusual geographical distribution of kava, a narcotic drink as soon as greatly fed on via south-west Pacific islanders. Rivers believed that it used to be deserted by way of many of us even prior to eu touch in favour of one other drug, betel, drawing his speculations from the tips of the diffusionist university of anthropology. despite the fact that, Dr Brunton disagrees. Taking the various fortunes of kava at the island of Tanna, Vanauta, as his place to begin, he means that kava's abandonment can top be defined by way of its organization with volatile non secular cults, and never end result of the adoption of betel. the matter of kava is for that reason a part of a broader challenge of why many conventional Melanesian societies have been normally hugely volatile, and Dr Brunton sees this instability as either an consequence and a reason behind susceptible associations of authority and social coordination.

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