Baloma is the spirit of the dead in Trobriand society, as studied by Bronislaw Malinowski, 1922. It plays a key role in conception ideologies and explains and maintains the matrilineal descent system by substituting the role of male sperm ("fathers") with that of a spirit. The baloma is that spirit of a deceased lineage member which impregnates the women while bathing in the sea, perpetuating the matrilineage intragenerationaly. The role of sexual intercourse is only indirectly related to conception within Trobriand mentality and seen as a way of opening the path for the baloma to enter the woman's womb. (Quote from wikipedia.org)
About the Author
Bronislaw Kasper Malinowski (1884 - 1942)
Bronislaw Kasper Malinowski (April 7, 1884 - May 16, 1942) was a Polish-born anthropologist widely considered to be one of the most important anthropologists of the twentieth century because of his pioneering work on ethnographic fieldwork, with which he also gave a major contribution to the study of Melanesia, and the study of reciprocity.
Malinowski was born in Krakow, Austro-Hungarian Empire (now Poland), to an upper-middle class family. His father was a professor and his mother the daughter of a land-owning family. As a child, he was frail, often suffering from ill-health, yet he excelled academically. He received a doctorate in philosophy from Jagiellonian University in 1908, where he focused on mathematics and physical sciences. He spent the next two years at Leipzig University, where he was influenced by Wilhelm Wundt and his theories of folk psychology. These then led Malinowski on to develop an interest in anthropology. At the time, James Frazer and other British authors were amongst the best-known anthropologists, so Malinowski traveled to England to study at the London S