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Reflecting on loss in Papua New Guinea

Demian, Melissa (2006) Reflecting on loss in Papua New Guinea. Ethnos: Journal of Anthropology, 71 (4). pp. 507-532. ISSN 0014-1844. (doi:10.1080/00141840601050692) (KAR id:676)

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This article takes up the conundrum of conducting anthropological fieldwork with people who claim that they have 'lost their culture,' as is the case with Suau people in the Massim region of Papua New Guinea. But rather than claiming culture loss as a process of dispossession, Suau claim it as a consequence of their own attempts to engage with colonial interests. Suau appear to have responded to missionization and their close proximity to the colonial-era capital by jettisoning many of the practices characteristic of Massim societies, now identified as 'kastom.' The rejection of kastom in order to facilitate their relations with Europeans during colonialism, followed by the mourning for kastom after independence, both invite consideration of a kind of reflexivity that requires action based on the presumed perspective of another.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1080/00141840601050692
Uncontrolled keywords: Culture loss; forgetting; death; custom; Massim
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation
Depositing User: Nicola Kerry-Yoxall
Date Deposited: 19 Dec 2007 18:25 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2021 12:13 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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