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Mortuary Dialogues presents fresh perspectives on death and mourning across the Pacific Islands. Through a set of rich ethnographies, the book examines how funerals and death rituals give rise to discourse and debate about sustaining moral personhood and community amid modernity and its enormous transformations. The book's key concept, "mortuary dialogue," describes the different genres of talk and expressive culture through which people struggle to restore individual and collective order in the aftermath of death in the contemporary Pacific.
How do images circulating in Pacific cultures and exchanged between them and their many visitors transform meanings for all involved? This fascinating collection explores how through mimesis, wayfarers and locales alike borrow images from one another to expand their cultural repertoire of meanings or borrow images from their own past to validate their identities.
For the last five decades, the Dani of the central highlands of West Papua, along with other Papuans, have struggled with the oppressive conditions of Indonesian rule. Formal education holds the promise of escape from stigmatization and violence. Dreams Made Small offers an in-depth, ethnographic look at journeys of education among young Dani men and women, asking us to think differently about education as a trajectory for transformation and belonging, and ultimately revealing how dreams of equality are shaped and reshaped in the face of multiple constraints.
This biography of the British social scientist who developed the "double bind" theory of schizophrenia concentrates on his intellectual development and interdisciplinary contributions to the understanding of human behavior
Tides of Innovation in Oceania is directly inspired by Epeli Hau‘ofa’s vision of the Pacific as a ‘Sea of Islands’; the image of tides recalls the cyclical movement of waves, with its unpredictable consequences. The authors propose tides of innovation as a fluid concept, unbound and open to many directions. This perspective is explored through ethnographic case studies centred on deeply elaborated analyses of locally inflected agencies involved in different transforming contexts. Three interwoven themes—value, materiality and place—provide a common thread.
“Sometimes, a child is born to a parent who can’t be a parent, and, like a seedling in the shade, has to grow toward a distant sun. Ariel Leve’s spare and powerful memoir will remind us that family isn’t everything—kindness and nurturing are.” —Gloria Steinem Ariel Leve grew up in Manhattan with an eccentric mother she describes as “a poet, an artist, a selfappointed troublemaker and attention seeker.” Leve learned to become her own parent, taking care of herself and her mother’s needs. There would be uncontrolled, impulsive rages followed with denial, disavowed responsibility, and then extreme outpourings of affection. How does a child learn to feel safe in this topsyturvy world of conditional love? Leve captures the chaos and lasting impact of a child’s life under siege and explores how the coping mechanisms she developed to survive later incapacitated her as an adult. There were material comforts, but no emotional safety, except for summer visits to her father’s home in South East Asia-an escape that was terminated after he attempted to gain custody. Following the death of a loving caretaker, a succession of replacements raised Leve-relationships which resulted in intense attachment and loss. It was not until decades later, when Leve moved to other side of the world, that she could begin to emancipate herself from the past. In a relationship with a man who has children, caring for them yields a clarity of what was missing. In telling her haunting story, Leve seeks to understand the effects of chronic psychological maltreatment on a child’s developing brain, and to discover how to build a life for herself that she never dreamed possible: An unabbreviated life.
Some 40 years ago, Pacific anthropology was dominated by debates about ‘women’s wealth’. These exchanges were generated by Annette Weiner’s (1976) critical reappraisal of Bronis?aw Malinowski’s classic work on the Trobriand Islands, and her observations that women’s production of ‘wealth’ (banana leaf bundles and skirts) for elaborate transactions in mortuary rituals occupied a central role in Trobriand matrilineal cosmology and social organisation. This volume brings the debates about women’s wealth back to the fore by critically revisiting and engaging with ideas about gender and materiality, value, relationality and the social life and agency of things. The chapters, interspersed by three poems, evoke the sinuous materiality of the different objects made by women across the Pacific, and the intimate relationship between these objects of value and sensuous, gendered bodies. In the Epilogue, Professor Margaret Jolly observes how the volume also ‘trace[s] a more abstract sinuosity in the movement of these things through time and place, as they coil through different regimes of value … The eight chapters … trace winding paths across the contemporary Pacific, from the Trobriands in Milne Bay, to Maisin, Wanigela and Korafe in Oro Province, Papua New Guinea, through the islands of Tonga to diasporic Tongan and Cook Islander communities in New Zealand’. This comparative perspective elucidates how women’s wealth is defined, valued and contested in current exchanges, bride-price debates, church settings, development projects and the challenges of living in diaspora. Importantly, this reveals how women themselves preserve the different values and meanings in gift-giving and exchanges, despite processes of commodification that have resulted in the decline or replacement of ‘women’s wealth’.

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