Big-men and Ceremonial Exchange in Mount Hagen New Guinea
Author: Andrew Strathern
Publisher: CUP Archive
Category: Social Science
In the Mount Hagen area of central New Guinea, warfare has been replaced since the arrival of the Europeans by a vigorous development of moka, a competitive ceremonial exchange of wealth objects. The exchanges of pigs, shells and other valuables are interpreted as acting as a bond between groups, and as a means whereby individuals, notably the big-men, can maximize their status. Professor Strathern analyses the ways in which competition between big-men actually takes place, and the effects of this competition on the overall political system.
Social anthropology is, in the classic definition, dedicated to the study of distant civilizations in their traditional and contemporary forms. But there is a larger aspiration: the comparative study of all human societies in the light of those challengingly unfamiliar beliefs and customs that expose our own ethnocentric limitations and put us in our place within the wider gamut of the world's civilizations. Thematically guided by social setting and cultural expression of identity, Social and Cultural Anthropology in Perspective is a dynamic and highly acclaimed introduction to the field of social anthropology, which also examines its links with cultural anthropology. A challenging new introduction critically surveys the latest trends, pointing to weaknesses as well as strengths.Presented in a clear, lively, and entertaining fashion, this volume offers a comprehensive and up-to-date guide to social anthropology for use by teachers and students. Skillfully weaving together theory and ethnographic data, author Ioan M. Lewis advocates an eclectic approach to anthropology. He combines the strengths of British structural-functionalism with the leading ideas of Marx, Freud, and Levi-Strauss while utilizing the methods of historians, political scientists, and psychologists. One of Lewis' particular concerns is to reveal how insights from ""traditional"" cultures illuminate what we take for granted in contemporary industrial and post-industrial society. He also shows how, in the pluralist world in which we live, those who study ""other"" cultures ultimately learn about themselves. Social anthropology is thus shown to be as relevant today as it has been in the past.
Strathern's illuminating study of the inequalities amongst the Highland societies of Papua New Guinea is now reissued with a new preface. The five papers in this volume seek to set these inequalities into a context of long-term and recent social changes that aim to develop schemes of analysis which will permit discussion of the societies over extended periods of time.
Postcultural Consciousness in Contemporary Papua New Guinea
Author: Ryan Schram
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Ryan Schram explores the experiences of living in intercultural and historical conjunctures among Auhelawa people of Papua New Guinea in Harvests, Feasts, and Graves. In this ethnographic investigation, Schram ponders how Auhelawa question the meaning of social forms and through this questioning seek paths to establish a new sense of their collective self. Harvests, Feasts, and Graves describes the ways in which Auhelawa people, and by extension many others, produce knowledge of themselves as historical subjects in the aftermath of diverse and incomplete encounters with Christianity, capitalism, and Western values. Using the contemporary setting of Papua New Guinea, Schram presents a new take on essential topics and foundational questions of social and cultural anthropology. If, as Marx writes, "the tradition of all dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brains of the living," Harvests, Feasts, and Graves asks: Which history weighs the most? And how does the weight of history become salient as a ground for subjective consciousness? Taking cues from postcolonial theory and indigenous studies, Schram rethinks the "ontological turn" in anthropology and develops a new way to think about the nature of historical consciousness. Rather than seeing the present as either tragedy or farce, Schram argues that contemporary historical consciousness is produced through reflexive sociality. Like all societies, Auhelawa is located in an intercultural conjuncture, yet their contemporary life is not a story of worlds colliding, but a shattered mirror in which multiple Auhelawa subjectivities are possible.
This collection of original essays explores money and its social dynamic in eight different Melanesian communities in order to determine why the people of Melanesia continue to use traditional kinds of currency, such as shells, alongside more modern types. When the answer to this question is examined in relation to the use of money in other countries, an entirely new model for thinking about money develops.