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Times enmeshed : gender, space, and history among the Duna of Papua New Guinea /
Gabriele Stürzenhofecker.
Stanford, Calif. : Stanford University Press, 1998.
xii, 242 p., [16] p. of plates : ill., map, port. 24 cm.
0804728992 (cloth : alk. paper)
More Details
Stanford, Calif. : Stanford University Press, 1998.
0804728992 (cloth : alk. paper)
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references (p. 225-235) and index.
A Look Inside
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This innovative work explores the historical consciousness of a people caught between two life-worlds. The Duna of Papua New Guinea have developed their own views of historical change, expressed in a fusion of two elements: indigenous ideas of cosmological cycles, and introduced Christian notions of world's end. The book explores how the formation of historical consciousness is constituted differently for men and women. A central focus is the fluid social environment of the Duna, where new contests about gendered personhood and agency emerge in the context of changing power relationships and arenas of cooperation between the sexes. The author reveals the links between gender and history and uses a gendered analysis as a lens of historical perception for viewing a wide range of topics. In the process, gender becomes "an idiom of thinking" that permeates all social domains, including kinship, marriage, and residence. The theme of consumption emerges forcefully throughout the book, engaging such crucial issues as gender and inequality, constructions of personhood, and the influence of historical change on social life. The sphere of consumption is also where cultural projections and social practice meet in the powerful domain of notions about female witchcraft, since female agency and consumption wishes form the basis for male fear of witches. The author explains how, in circumstances of historical indeterminacy, there has been a shift in the semantic platforms on which Duna witchcraft notions are grounded, a shift that has led to a process of symbolic reconfiguration. The book contributes to emerging trends in anthropological research in three ways. Ethnographically, it presents a transformed picture of people whose lives were examined by earlier, male ethnographers in terms of Marxist or sociobiological models. Analytically, it uses new perspectives to provide a more interpretive and nuanced account of gender relations. Theoretically, it explores the potential value of the theme of historical consciousness for an anthropology concerned with questions of change and with people's perceptions about their past and their future.
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 1998-09-01:
Sturzenhofecker's monograph treats a previously well studied area of the southern highlands of Papua New Guinea. The author develops a new and important approach to the understanding of how historical consciousness is shaped in the midst of change and flux. The chapters cover the Duna people's encounter with colonial agents, the dynamics of local cosmology and historical process, the impact of change on marriage payments and gender relations, the persistence of witchcraft, and shifts in the cultural construction of personhood. The author explains the interesting mix of ideas about economic development, gender relations, and Christian apocalyptic notions that make up contemporary Duna historical thought. There is much here that shows the influence of recent theory in cultural anthropology, but such theory is used cogently and with original application to the ethnographic setting. Upper-division undergraduates, graduates, faculty. G. E. Marcus Rice University
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Choice, September 1998
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Bowker Data Service Summary
The Duna of Papua New Guinea, a people whose unstructured social environments promote changing power relationships and allow for co-operation between the sexes, is the subject of this study.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgmentsp. vii
Introductionp. 1
History and Histories Historical Consciousness Among the Dunap. 12
The Ground as Cosmological Imagep. 39
Residence and Identityp. 77
Production, Consumption, and Space: Women And Men In Everyday Lifep. 123
The Enemy Within Witchcraft, Consumption, and Agencyp. 158
Consumption, Personhood, and Historyp. 184
Reference Matterp. 205
Appendix Duna Textsp. 207
Notesp. 217
Bibliographyp. 225
Indexp. 237
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

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