Making History: Pukapukan and Anthropological Constructions of Knowledge

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9780521396486: Making History: Pukapukan and Anthropological Constructions of Knowledge
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The unravelling of an anthropological puzzle concerning a Polynesian island's social organization clarifies the strength and limitations of the anthropological approach to constructing knowledge.

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Review:

"...one of the most original and thought-provoking ethnographies I have read in some time..." J. Howe in Pacific Studies

"...recommend the book highly as a good anthropological read; the writing is lucid and stylish, and the contents rich and original." Man

"...one of the finest [discussions] in the literature on the relationship between social context and acquisition of knowledge...It raises significant questions about the uses and meaning of the past both to Pukapukans and to ethnographers. There is much to learn from here." Journal of American Folklore

"This ethnographic contribution has a brevity, simplicity, and charm that mask the sophistication, the scholarship, the masterly handling of highly complex material, and the sheer hard work that went into its preparation and writing." Ben Finney, The Contemporary Pacific

"Scholard with special interests in traditional cultures, Polynesian life in particular, will find this a most useful text." Elaine Bradtke in Come-All-Ye

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9780521305204: Making History: Pukapukan and Anthropological Constructions of Knowledge

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ISBN 10:  0521305209 ISBN 13:  9780521305204
Publisher: Cambridge University Press, 1986
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Book Description CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS, United Kingdom, 1990. Paperback. Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English. Brand new Book. Making History begins with a puzzle. In 1976 the inhabitants of Pukapuka, a Polynesian island in the South Pacific, revived a traditional form of social organization that several authoritative Pukapukan informants claimed to have experienced previously in their youth. Yet five professional anthropologists, who conducted research on the island prior to 1976, do not mention it in any of their writings. Had the Pukapukans 'invented' a new tradition? Or had the anthropologists collectively erred in not recording an old one? In unraveling this puzzle, Robert Borofsky compares two different ways of 'making history', two different ways of constructing knowledge about the past. He examines the dynamic nature of Pukapukan knowledge focusing on how Pukapukans, in the process of learning and validating their traditions, continually change them. He also shows how anthropologists, in the process of writing about such traditions for Western audiences, often overstructure them, emphasizing uniformity at the expense of diversity, stasis at the expense of change. As well as being of interest for what it reveals about Pukapukan (and more generally Polynesian) culture, Making History helps clarify important strengths and limitations of the anthropological approach. It provides valuable insights into both the anthropological construction of knowledge and the nature of anthropological understanding. Seller Inventory # AAV9780521396486

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Book Description CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS, United Kingdom, 1990. Paperback. Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English. Brand new Book. Making History begins with a puzzle. In 1976 the inhabitants of Pukapuka, a Polynesian island in the South Pacific, revived a traditional form of social organization that several authoritative Pukapukan informants claimed to have experienced previously in their youth. Yet five professional anthropologists, who conducted research on the island prior to 1976, do not mention it in any of their writings. Had the Pukapukans 'invented' a new tradition? Or had the anthropologists collectively erred in not recording an old one? In unraveling this puzzle, Robert Borofsky compares two different ways of 'making history', two different ways of constructing knowledge about the past. He examines the dynamic nature of Pukapukan knowledge focusing on how Pukapukans, in the process of learning and validating their traditions, continually change them. He also shows how anthropologists, in the process of writing about such traditions for Western audiences, often overstructure them, emphasizing uniformity at the expense of diversity, stasis at the expense of change. As well as being of interest for what it reveals about Pukapukan (and more generally Polynesian) culture, Making History helps clarify important strengths and limitations of the anthropological approach. It provides valuable insights into both the anthropological construction of knowledge and the nature of anthropological understanding. Seller Inventory # AAV9780521396486

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