Whereas studies within the region of Eastern Indonesia, Melanesia, and Polynesia historically have had a major focus on socially, geographically, or theoretically fundamental and clearly defined types, structures, or phenomena such as kinship, social stratification, magic and religion, this thesis is an effort to better understand social and cultural entities and categories in their foundational context; not as abstract ideal-types or defined forms, but as products of historical, social, and cultural dynamics and processes of continuity and change. Moreover, I argue that the person is necessarily and continually involved in the ongoing interpretative comprehension and transformation of cultural patterns, hence calling for the inclusion of cognitive and affective faculties of the person in anthropological research, analysis, and understanding of communities. The ethnographic focus of this account is the society of Otvai, a mountain village on the island of Alor, Eastern Indonesia. Alor is relatively unknown in existing anthropological literature, and available empirical data and sources are scarce and generally limited in scope. The focus in a substantial part of this account is therefore primarily descriptive, and upon the locally specific and cultural and social particular, with the intention of presenting an empirical foundation for continued research and future anthropological analysis. The thesis consists of eight parts divided into three main sections: theoretical backdrop and analytic focus; ethnographic description; analysis and conclusion. Part one outlines a conceptual framework for the underlying theme of continuity and change, in addition to investigating and defining analytical concepts and perspectives that are and have been fundamental in our approach to describing and understanding "the other." After introducing the research area, its inhabitants and history in part two, we proceed to the presentation of ethnographic data by first examining the clans of 'desa' Otvai, their histories, various legends, and affiliations in part three. We continue by exploring various aspects and levels of seniority, hierarchy, and authority in part four, from roles within nuclear families to the importance and role of clan and village leaders. Part five examines various forms and foundations of alliance, from agnatic and affinal associations, friendship, and professional bonds, to those created by historical events, barter and trade. Part six describes traditional beliefs, cosmology, sacrifice, and magic, and how important features from past practices have changed and developed up until today. Part seven brings this temporal perspective into contemporary society, with the introduction of Christianity and modern society, and describes practices, rituals, and modes of subsistence in 'desa' Otvai today. In part eight we conclude by attempting to combine and present some elements and conjunctions of the presented theory and ethnography. A vernacular dictionary with words and terminology referred to in the thesis can be found in appendix one, followed by a listing of vernacular numbers, names of locations, standards for barter, and personal pronouns in appendix two.