Collection Description

Culture Name


Culture Description

"Manus" refers to residents of the Papua New Guinea province of Manus. Manus Province includes the main island of Manus (an island 272 km north-northeast of the mainland of Papua New Guinea) and offshore islands. The Manus language family contains scores of distinct languages; although many people know several Manus languages much of the communication between groups is in Melanesian pidgin. Sociopolitical life is organized on the village and patriclan level.


Select the Culture Summary link above for a longer description of the culture.


Oceania --Melanesia


Papua New Guinea

OWC Code


Number of Documents


Note: Select the Collection Documents tab above to browse documents.

Number of Pages


Collection Overview

Documents referred to in this section are included in the eHRAF collection and are referenced by author, date of publication, and eHRAF document number.

There are 14 documents in the Manus file. The dates covered in the documents in this file are from 1870 to 1992. A major contributor was the American anthropologist Margaret Mead (1901-1978), who conducted fieldwork on the island in 1928-1929 and again in 1953. Her main monographs are on personality development (Mead 1930, no. 1) and a follow-up study, 25 years later, on the same subject (Mead 1956, no. 2). Other works by Mead focus on kinship (Mead 1934, no. 4), animism and children's thought (Mead 1932, no. 5), trade and exchange (Mead 1930, no. 7), and a general introduction to Manus culture and society (Mead 1937, no. 6.) Fortune (1935, no. 3) wrote a major monograph on the Manus religion. Carrier wrote two monographs on the traditional and modern Manus economies (Carrier 1991, no. 8; 1989, no. 9.) Schwartz also writes about the traditional economy of the region (Schwartz 1963, no. 11.) Gustafsson (1993, no. 10) wrote his doctoral dissertation on Manus leadership. Otto (1998, no. 12) examines the life of one particular leader, Paliau Maloat, and the history of the movement he led (Otto 1992, no. 13.) Romanucci-Ross (1969, no. 14) examines Manus medical treatment.

For more detailed information on the content of the individual works in the file, see the abstracts in the citations preceding each document.

This culture summary is from the article, "Manus," by James G. Carrier, in the Encyclopedia Of World Cultures, Oceania, Vol. 2. pp. 173-176. 1991. Terence E. Hays, Ed. Boston, Mass.: G. K. Hall & Co. Population figures were updated by Ian Skoggard, December 2004. Indexing notes were written by John Beierle and Ian Skoggard in April, 2004, and the synopsis was written by Ian Skoggard in December, 2004.

ASI-FZ, FZD, FMZD, etc.-categories 601 and 602

KAHU-return prestations-category 431

KAMAL-patrilineal property-owning group, men's house-categories 344, 423 and 613

KANSOLAS-village head-category 622

KAWAS-trading partners-categories 437, 438, and 571

KEN SIS-cognatic stocks, clans-category 614

KOWUN-totem, matrilineal group-category 613

LAPAN-leader, rich man-categories 550, 613

LOM PEIN-line of the women, matrilneage-category 613

LON KAMAL-line of the men, patrilineage-category 613

Long Story of God-religious text-category 779

LOTU-church-categories 794, 795, and 797

LULAI-village leader-categories 622 and 631

MOEN PAHT-ancestral spirit-categories 775, 776, and 769

Noise-phenomenon around second cargo cult-category 781

SAHAI-prestations to kamals-categories 431 and 613

TALIS-house community-categories 596 and 613

TAMA-F, FB, FZS, FMZS-categories 601 and 602


TAMBU-affines-category 602

TJINAL-stand for ancestral skull-category 778

WIN NEISEN-name of God and a politicoreligious movement-categories 185, 668, 776, and 795

Close Box