The Dugum Dani: A Papuan Culture in the Highlands of West New Guinea

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9780202010397: The Dugum Dani: A Papuan Culture in the Highlands of West New Guinea

For many years anthropologists have speculated about primitive warfare, its place in a particular culture, its form, and its consequences on other tribes. This full-scale ethnography of the Dugum Dani centers on the issue of hostility between groups of human beings and the place and function of violence. Warfare, like rituals and kinship alliances, is part of a total culture, and for this reason Professor Heider has approached the Dani from a holistic point of view. Other aspects of Dani life and organization are shown in interrelationship with the institution of warfare, such as the social, ecological, and technological elements in the Dani way of life. Professor Heider examines particularly the role of warfare itself in terms of the particular needs, and lack of them. The first section of this book documents the Dani and their warfare and provides one of the most detailed accounts of tribal life available. The second section focuses on the material aspects of Dani culture, to explore the interrelationships of the material objects with the other aspects of Dani culture; this analysis is especially interesting since the Dani moved from a stone-age culture to steel tools during the period of study itself. Professor Heider also notes the distinctive aspects of Dani culture; the paucity of color, number, and other attribute terms, the near absence of art; their five-year post-partum sexual abstinence, and other traits that seem to suggest that the Dani have little interest in intellectual elaboration or sex, and that despite their warfare, they are not a particularly aggressive people. Including previously unpublished photographs and descriptions of tribal life and warfare, this book provides anthropologists with a full and vivid account of Dani culture and with new insights into the general problems of human aggression.

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About the Author:

Karl G. Heider has done extensive field research in New Guinea, at the Mayan site of Tikal in Guatemala, and in Thailand, France, Arizona, and South Dakota. He was a member of the Harvard-Peabody Expedition in 1961 that documented the Dani in the film Dead Birds and was co-author of the bookGardens of War: Life and Death in the New Guinea Stone Age. Professor Heider has contributed articles to theSouthwestern Journal of Anthropology, Man, Anthropos, and American Anthropologist. He is currently Associate provost and Dean of Undergraduate Studies at the University of South Carolina. He has served as Chair on the committee of ethics for the American Anthropological Association as well as President of the general Anthropology division of AAA.

Review:

“This descriptive ethnography contributes to the already considerable literature on the peoples of the Grand Valley of the Balim River. The term “Dugum” refers to a 350 population cluster associated with the Dani name for the local hill around which they interact and cluster... [This book] is a useful statement of a Highland New Guinea culture.”

—David G. Bettison, Pacific Affairs

“This attractively produced ethnography of a neighbourhood of 350 persons among the 50,000 Dani-speakers of Indonesian-controlled West New Guinea is presented as ‘a holistic study’, to the memory of Clyde Kluckhohn... [The] present study gives the non-specialist reader a kaleidoscopic introduction to a wide range of New Guinea behaviours that too often go unreported.”

—R. F. Salisbury, Man

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Karl G. Heider
Published by Aldine Publishing Company (1970)
ISBN 10: 0202010392 ISBN 13: 9780202010397
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Heider, Karl G.
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ISBN 10: 0202010392 ISBN 13: 9780202010397
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