A much-neglected charge in Richard Bauman’s work is the socially constitutive role of folklore and its potential for social transformation beyond the performance event. Highlighting the intersections between textual signs, cosmology, and social relations reveals the formation of power relations within the newly independent nation-state of the Marshall Islands. These relations represent a contested and emerging product achieved through the intertextual uses of cosmological images embedded in a mythological narrative about matriliny and chiefly polity.

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