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Empowering the Past, Confronting the Future provides a new analysis of changes in the lifeworlds of the Aluni Valley Duna people living in a remote part of the Highlands of Papua New Guinea. Influenced by companies mining for gold, cooper, and oil, they have devised ingenious ways to adapt their own myths about the cosmos in order to make claims for compensation and royalty payments. They have also improvised their own responses to the demands of Christian missionaries. The book expands out from this case study, providing a comparative framework for analyzing changes in neighboring societies and a general evaluation of work on the politics of tradition in Pacific societies.
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"This accessibly written book is a very welcome addition to the literature on the Papua New Guinea highlands. It is refreshingly free of jargon, written in a highly readable style but, drawing on the authors' enormous fund of experience, evidencing considerable anthropological depth and awareness. The focus is on issues of change and the book adopts a welcome commonsense perspective balancing between the timeless ideas of tradition--seen not as static but a constantly shifting perspective--and modernity--seen not as globalizing similarity but as a pluralizing process. It has a particular interest in ritual responses to change that are prominent in Duna culture, presenting some fascinating ethnography on these issues. The book will also appeal to those interested in ideas about the constitution of highland New Guinea social groups, from the early debate on the relevance of African models--to which one of the authors made prominent contributions--to today's concerns with the flexibility of these local entities."--Paul Sillitoe, Head of Anthropology Department, University of Durham
"The authors' familiarity with and extensive publications on Duna culture and society provide a 'sufficient ethnography' from which emerges this nuanced account of the forces of change in a contemporary Papua New Guinean society. This ethnography uncommonly privileges the reader with insights into the choices, and their often unintended consequences, made by Duna men and women as they grapple with tradition that is not fixed but constantly shifting, and modernity that is pluralizing rather than homogenizing. The authors capture the texture, ironies and complexities of Duna society while critically challenging the idea of 'modernity' as a meta-narrative and explanatory concept in anthropology and the social sciences generally. Highly recommended."--Naomi McPherson, Chair of Department of Anthropology, Okanagan University College, Kelowna, Canada
"The Aluni Valley Duna of Papua New Guinea's Southern Highlands, despite considerable isolation, have been subject to a complex web of economic, political, social, and religious pressures owing to their colonial experience and the encroachment of global capitalism. In an effort to come to terms with their changed circumstances Duna draw upon--and at the same time have reshaped--their history and culture in myriad ingenious ways. Empowering the Past is at once a fine-grained ethnography of a small, remote community and a sophisticated comparative study by two of our era's most prolific anthropological researchers. By presenting valuable insights in elegant, yet accessible prose, Strathern and Stewart have created a book that should command wide attention among scholars interested in Pacific studies, anthropological theory, globalization, change, development, and politics of culture and tradition."--Richard Feinberg, Professor of Anthropology, Kent State University
"Observation and insight shine through this portrait of change in a Southern Highlands valley in New Guinea at the edge--roads came there but briefly. Strathern and Stewart reveal a politics of tradition seen always in relation to a moving present. They show how misleading easy dichotomies are, how each community must make sense of a particular shifting mix of events, myth, hopes and experience. They also explore four distinct New Guinea modernities in an illuminating chapter of comparison. To find anthropological findings and ideas so clearly discussed as here is a great pleasure."--Gilbert Lewis, St John's College, Cambridge
Andrew Strathern and Pamela J. Stewart are research collaborators and are both in the Anthropology Department, University of Pittsburgh, and Research Fellows in the Department of Anthropology, University of Durham, England. They have published many articles and books on their fieldwork in the Pacific, Europe (primarily Scotland and Ireland), and Asia. Their most recent co-authored books include: Remaking the World (2002); Gender, Song, and Sensibility; Landscape, Memory and History (2003); and Witchcraft, Sorcery, Rumors, and Gossip (2003). They have also co-authored, along with Laurence M. Carucci, Lin Poyer, Richard Feinberg, and Cluny Macpherson, Oceania: An Introduction to the Cultures and Identies of Pacific Islanders (2002). They have both worked and lived in many parts of the world, including Australia, Europe, Papua New Guinea, Asia, and the USA.
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Book Description Palgrave Macmillan, 2004. Hardcover. Condition: New. All items inspected and guaranteed. All Orders Dispatched from the UK within one working day. Established business with excellent service record. Seller Inventory # mon0000091242
Book Description Palgrave Macmillan. Hardcover. Condition: New. 1403964904 Without jacket. Seller Inventory # SKU001739
Book Description Palgrave Macmillan, 2004. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M1403964904