cargo cult


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Wikipedia.
Related to cargo cult: Richard Feynman, Burning Man

cargo cult,

native religious movement found in Melanesia and New Guinea, holding that at the millennium the spirits of the dead will return and bring with them cargoes of modern goods for distribution among its adherents. The cult had its beginnings in the 19th cent. and received great impetus from World War II, when the Western armed forces littered the islands with surplus cargo. The cult aims to restore a past time and to regain the goodwill of ancestors who are being lured into giving cargo to the white foreigners, cargo originally intended for the native Melanesians. Cargo cults are revivalistic, in that the adherents expect the restoration of a golden age in which they will be reunited with their ancestors, and nativistic (see nativismnativism,
in anthropology, social movement that proclaims the return to power of the natives of a colonized area and the resurgence of native culture, along with the decline of the colonizers.
..... Click the link for more information.
), in that the whites are to be driven away. However, as the cargo is composed principally of European goods, and native goods and rituals are abandoned, both the nativistic and revivalistic aspects of cargo cults are qualified by a strong motive toward acculturationacculturation,
culture changes resulting from contact among various societies over time. Contact may have distinct results, such as the borrowing of certain traits by one culture from another, or the relative fusion of separate cultures.
..... Click the link for more information.
.

cargo cult

a form of MILLENARIAN or MILLENNIAL MOVEMENT widespread in Melanesia in the modern colonial era, in which followers of the CULT seek to achieve the delivery of cargoes of Western consumer goods by means of MAGIC and RITUAL, e.g. the building of‘airstrips’ and models of planes. Such cults involve the combination of Western and native beliefs in a context of ANOMIE and disruption of the local culture, sometimes by successive waves of colonialism. Based on assumptions in the native religion about the supernatural origins of material resources as well as on an inadequate knowledge of the Western culture, when more adequate knowledge became available, these movements have tended to transform into politico-religious movements (see Worsley, The Trumpet Shall Sound, 1968).
References in periodicals archive ?
The Tasmanian government, the leader of this state's cargo cult, has enthusiastically welcomed the latest supernatural benefactors.
Nagriamel is presented as having remained a Cargo cult and Stevens is not said to have achieved the dimension of a politician capable of incorporating a nationalist vision of the future of the New Hebrides.
Joel Robbins, for example, considers that 'the failure of Cargo Cult Critique' is bound to the millenarian dimension of such kinds of culture critiques.
Cargo Cult as Theatre: political performance in the Pacific By Dorothy K.
Second, the downside of a Noah's ark of art assembled by the wise is the cargo cult of recycled goods.
Here it looks like a cargo cult in reverse, with the objects being 'misappropriated" through the need of the "natives" to gaze on them in the form of a museological display.
The original call for papers elicited interest from leading scholars in the field engaged both in questioning the term 'cargo cult' and in investigating the inner workings of what appear to be classic cargo cult activities.
If only you could make perfect music for a post-capitalist cargo cult, sad and joyful songs for ecstatic bricoleurs, tunes for dancing aimlessly around a bonfire of old albums and young college theory-texts, you just might succeed at not succeeding, on your own terms.
And another eye surveys cargo culting in Melanesia, while yet another looks homewards at our own participation in cargo cult stories.
The Melanesian cargo cult literature also holds many examples of people mistaking Europeans for spirits, so in looking at recent theorizing about the topic of cargo, it may be fruitful to consider whether something similar to Obeyesekere's claim has happened in the Melanesian case.
I wonder if there are examples of a Mongolian cultic reception of technology perhaps comparable to the Melanesian cargo cult.
In this paper, I explore the creative practices of cargo cult followers in the Kaliai bush of West New Britain.