Cargo Cult

Cargo Cult

Definition of Cargo Cult

The Canada social science dictionary [1] provides the following meaning of Cargo Cult: A form of millenarian movement ( a belief in what is to come) found in the islands of Melanesia in the South Pacific. These cults involve the belief that ritual activities and observances will lead to the arrival of free ‘cargoes’ of goods. It appears that the cults are a development from the indigenous belief that necessary goods and animals for food and supplies are released by the gods or guardian spirits when the people have completed proper ritual observances. The cargo cults show the influence of the modern world in that the cargoes are expected to arrive by boat or plane as do the goods and supplies used by white immigrants and colonizers. The cults have proved to be enduring even when cargo does not materialize, since this is seen as a sign that ritual observation and activity has been inadequate or inappropriate.

Cargo Cult: Resources

Notes and References

  • Drislane, R., & Parkinson, G. (2016). (Concept of) Cargo Cult. Online dictionary of the social sciences. Open University of Canada





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