© 2003

Dream Travelers

Sleep Experiences and Culture in the Western Pacific

  • Authors

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-x
  2. Roger Ivar Lohmann
    Pages 1-18
  3. Joel Robbins
    Pages 19-42
  4. Wolfgang Kempf, Elfriede Hermann
    Pages 61-86
  5. Robert Tonkinson
    Pages 87-106
  6. Jane C. Goodale
    Pages 149-168
  7. Waud Kracke
    Pages 211-235
  8. Back Matter
    Pages 237-246

About this book


In dreams, part of the self seems to wander off to undertake both mundane tasks and marvellous adventures. Anthropologists have found that many peoples take this experience of dreaming at face value, assuming that their spirits literally leave the body to travel, meet other spirits, and acquire valuable knowledge - with dramatic consequence for relationships, social organization, and religions. Dream Travellers is about Melanesian, Aboriginal Australian, and Indonesian peoples who hold this assumption. Several leading anthropologists contribute theoretically and ethnographically rich chapters, showing that attention to these peoples' dream lives deeply enhances our understanding of their cultures and waking lives as well.


aging anthropology attention consciousness culture dream dreams knowledge organization organizations religion remembrance social organization state traditions

About the authors

JANE C. GOODALE Professor Emerita of Anthropology at Bryn Mawr College, Pennsylvania, USA ELFRIEDE HERMANN Research Fellow of the Institute of Ethnology, University of Göttingen, Germany DOUGLAS HOLLAN Professor of Anthropology and Luckman Distinguished Teacher at University of California, Los Angeles, Senior Instructor at the Southern California Psychoanalytic Institute, USA IAN KEEN Reader in the Department of Archaeology and Anthropology at the Australian National University, Australia WOLFGANG KEMPE Research Fellow of the Institute of Ethnology, University of Göttingen, Germany WAUD KRACKE Professor of Anthropology at the University of Illinois-Chicago, USA ROGER IVAR LOHMANN Instructor of Anthropology at the University of Toronto, Canada SYLVIE POIRIER Associate Professor of Social Anthropology at Université Laval , Canada JOEL ROBBINS Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, San Diego, USA PAMELA J. STEWART Research Associate in the Departments of Anthropology and Religious Studies at the University of Pittsburgh, USA ANDREW J. STRATHERN Mellon Professor of Anthropology at the University of Pittsburgh, USA ROBERT TONKINSON Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at the University of Western Australia

Bibliographic information


"Dream Travelers is a fine contribution to the current renewed interest in the study of dreams. The volume presents the research of a diverse group of distinguished anthropologists, all with experience in the rapidly changing societies of the Western Pacific.They show how these transformations are strikingly reflected in the dream life as well as the waking life of individuals.There are new data and new ideas here. They will prove influential in the broader study of dreams and consciousness." - Erika Bourguignon, Professor Emerita, Ohio State University

"My lasting impression following reading this fine collection of anthropological essays is of the dream as an alternative mode of cognition - as an important means of apprehending the world and engaging with others. Based on original fieldwork, each essay contributes rich ethnographic data to reveal the interaction between the apparently private inner realm of dreams, and shared, cultural phantasy systems. Lived culture emerges from this dynamic interplay. For all those with a serious interest in dreams, this book a 'must'. Furthermore, if there still remain any social or cultural anthropologists who feel that dreaming is a topic better left to the psychoanalyst, or dismissed entirely, this important collection will surely convince them otherwise." - Michele Stephen, Associate Professor of History, La Trobe University, Australia

"Returning to one of the foundational problems in anthropology, the authors of Dream Travelers explore the cultural significance of dreaming in a fascinating journey through Melanesia, aboriginal Australia and Indonesia. Powerfully evocative, the chapters are a pleasure to read in their own right while the collection as a whole propels our understanding of dreams in important new directions. Dream Travelers makes significant contributions to comparative ethnography, the anthropology of religion and the psychology of dreaming." - John Barker, Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of British Columbia"A fascinating work on dreams and religion in the Western Pacific." - Mary N. McDonald, Le Moyne College