Andrew J. Strathern, Pamela J. Stewart's Empowering the Past, Confronting the Future: The Duna People PDF

By Andrew J. Strathern, Pamela J. Stewart

How have the Aluni Valley Duna humans of Papua New Guinea answered to the demanding situations of colonial and post-colonial adjustments that experience entered their lifeworld because the center of the Twentieth-Century? dwelling in a nook of the area encouraged via mining businesses yet particularly missed when it comes to government-sponsored improvement, those humans have dealt creatively with forces of switch through redeploying their very own mythological issues in regards to the cosmos which will make claims on open air firms and through subtly combining gains in their commonly used practices with varieties of Christianity, trying to empower their previous as a method of confronting the long run.

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Extra resources for Empowering the Past, Confronting the Future: The Duna People of Papua New Guinea

Sample text

Early Ethnographic Work Earlier anthropological writings on the Duna concerned themselves largely with classic problems of the analysis and explanation of forms of social structure. The work of Charles Nicholas Modjeska stands out here. Modjeska’s ethnographic work provides a fundamental baseline for other studies in the general Duna population area. We concentrate here on giving a brief exposition of the main themes explored by Modjeska. D. student with a scholarship at the Australian National University from Canberra.

It is to this trend of historical anthropology and the study of change that we intend this book to contribute, following earlier work in the same vein (Strathern and Stewart 2000a; Stewart and Strathern 2002a). We stress the adaptations the Duna have made to changes, the transformative effects of these adaptations on their social life, and the larger political and economic conditions that constrain their choices. The study of change, however, cannot dispense with the analysis of social structure, so in the next chapter we take up the question of group formation among the Duna in the area where we have worked, including the topic of agnatic and cognatic descent.

The broader framework of social structure in the parish can therefore be described as one of cognatic descent, that is, descent that can be traced through either male or female links, or combinations of these links. In this framework members of both categories (agnates and cognates) are ultimately linked by descent to the originating spirit powers. As census materials on persons actually coresident in parishes indicate, the picture “on the ground” is even more complicated, since inlaws (affines) and unrelated people may also be found.

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