Lee, Helen Morton, 1960-. Becoming Tongan: an ethnography of childhood

Table of Contents

Publication Information


Chapter 1 The Ethnography Of Childhood


Chapter 2 The Kingdom Of Tonga

Tradition And Identity

Social Hierarchy

Social Organization

Household Composition

Pita And Manu

Seini And Siale

The Households Compared

Village Life

Daily Life In Holonga


Health And Nutrition

Chapter 3 Having Children: “paradise On Earth”


Pregnancy: “preparing The Child”


Attitudes To Reproduction


Reproductive Control


Adoption And Fosterage

The Care Of Infants

Differential Treatment Of Children

The First Birthday

Chapter 4 Becoming Poto: What To Learn

Children As Persons


“love”: □ofa

Respect: Faka□apa□apa

Obedience: Talangofua

Freedom/independence: Tau□atāina

Gender Differences



Untitled Section: ...

Chapter 5 Children's Everyday Lives: Socialization In Context



Maternal Kin


Father's Sisters


Same-sex Siblings

Brothers And Sisters




Chapter 6 Learning To Be Poto


Observation And Imitation

Language Socialization

Chapter 7 Sanctioned Violence: Punishment And Aggression In Tonga

Punishment In Precontact Tonga

Punishment Of Children Historically

“they Punish Me With Their Love”: Contemporary Tonga

Infancy: Threatening And Smacking

Childhood: Punishment's Role In Socialization

The Question Of “abuse”

Wider Contexts Of Violence

Chapter 8 The Socialization Of Emotion

Monitoring Emotion

The Management Of Anger


Anger And Humor

Humor As Social Control

Expressing Strong Emotion


Religious Experience


Self And Other


Chapter 9 Becoming Tongan: The Future

Political Change In Tonga

Ideal Personhood

Children And The Loss Of Culture

Remaining Tongan: The Future

Publication Information

Paragraph Subjects (OCM)

Publication Information


Title: Becoming Tongan: an ethnography of childhood

Published By: Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press, 1996. ix, 343 p.: ill., maps

By line: Helen Morton

HRAF Publication Information: New Haven, Conn.: HRAF, 2006. Computer File

Culture: Tongans (OU09)

Subjects: Drives and emotions (152); Social personality (156); Personality traits (157); Acculturation and culture contact (177); Sociocultural trends (178); Ethos (181); Norms (183); Cultural identity and pride (186); Humor (522); Gender status (562); Ethics (577); Household (592); Family relationships (593); Ethnopsychology (828); Ethnosociology (829); Conception (842); Infant care (854); Child care (855); Childhood activities (857); Socialization (860); Gender roles and issues (890);

Abstract: This document, aptly subtitled 'an ethnography of childhood', is a study of the various socio-cultural factors that are operational in the socialization of children from birth to late adolescence in order to become an adult member of Tongan society. After a brief discussion of some of the theoretical concepts utilized in this study, Lee (Morton) then presents a detailed description of some of the major the factors noted above, such as: ANGA FAKATONGA ('the Tongan way'), the concept of what constitues the ideal individual; Tongan notions of 'personhood' with its cultural values of 'OFA (love, concern), respect, obedience, and independence, and the availability and acquisition of this knowledge by children; physical punishment in children's socialization; and the management of emotion. The work concludes with the author's analysis of childhood socialization processes in reference to recent (ca. 1979-1989) political developments in Tonga.

Document Number: 107

Document ID: ou09-107

Document Type: Monograph

Language: English

Field Date: 1979-1989

Evaluation: Ethnologist-5

Analyst: John Beierle; 2004

Coverage Date: ca. 1950s-1989

Coverage Place: Village of Holonga, Tongatapu Island, Tonga

LCSH: Tongans


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