See/download the final papers at Taylor & Francis Online (subscription required)
See/download the pre-publication open access versions below.

 

  • Kun-Hui Ku & Thomas Gibson: Hierarchy and Egalitarianism in Austronesia
  • Kun-Hui Ku: Reconsidering Hierarchy and Egalitarianism in Austronesian Taiwan
  • Thomas Gibson: From Tribal Hut to Royal Palace: The Dialectic of Equality and Hierarchy in Austronesian Southeast Asia
  • Denis Regnier: Forever Slaves? Inequality, Uncleanliness and Vigilance about Origin in the Southern Highlands of Madagascar
  • Hao-Li Lin & Richard Scaglion: Austronesian Speakers and Hereditary Leadership in the Pacific
  • John Barker: Mixed Grammars and Tangled Hierarchies: An Austronesian-Papuan Contact Zone in Papua New Guinea
  • Keir Martin: Hierarchy and Stratification in East New Britain
  • Knut Rio: The Transformation of Hierarchy Following Christian Conversion in Vanuatu

 


SPECIAL ISSUE
Hierarchy and Egalitarianism in Austronesia

Guest editors:

Kun-Hui Ku and Thomas Gibson

 

Kun-Hui Ku & Thomas Gibson

National Tsing Hua University, Hsinchu, Taiwan & University of Rochester, Rochester, USA

Hierarchy and Egalitarianism in Austronesia

pages 205-215

The current collection of articles includes a discussion of Austronesian peoples living in modern nations situated in East Asia, Southeast Asia, Africa and Melanesia. It thus crosses many long-established boundaries in area studies which tend to develop their own theoretical dialects. While there are many valid reasons for these theoretical discussions, a shift in focus from geographically defined areas to what might be called ‘Greater Austronesia’ brings to light new sets of theoretical problems. Our central concern is the extent to which Austronesian societies value social hierarchy over egalitarianism, and the extent to which political leadership is determined through a rule of succession or other form of status ascription, through the competitive achievements of individuals, or actively resisted in the first place through various mechanisms such as the mandatory sharing of wealth, the denigration of ambition, or the dispersal of populations.

 

 

Kun-Hui Ku

National Tsing Hua University, Hsinchu, Taiwan

Reconsidering Hierarchy and Egalitarianism in Austronesian Taiwan

pages 216-233

This paper reviews previous attempts to characterise the nature of social differences among the Austronesian speakers of Taiwan and the theoretical roots of these efforts, including the contrast Marshall Sahlins’s drew between Melanesian Big-Men (achieved status) and Polynesian Chiefs (ascribed status). This contrast was later applied to the diverse social organisations found among the Austronesian speakers of Taiwan. However, linguistic research over the past three decades has suggested that Proto-Austronesians may have already developed chiefdoms and social hierarchies and that Taiwan was one of the key sites for the origin of Austronesian speakers. Some scholars thus concluded that the ‘egalitarian’ type of societies among the Austronesian Taiwan must have been the result of Japanese colonial policies. This paper intends to re-think this dichotomy with ethnographic material from Austronesian Taiwan, especially the Paiwan; to distinguish the ideological and practical dimensions of this historical reconstruction; and to examine the viability of the analytical tools which have been widely adopted in the anthropological literature on other Austronesian societies.

 


Thomas Gibson

University of Rochester, Rochester, USA

From Tribal Hut to Royal Palace: The Dialectic of Equality and Hierarchy in Austronesian Southeast Asia

pages 234-248

In this paper, I will compare and contrast the Austronesian symbolic elements of the two social formations within which I have conducted extensive ethnographic and archival research, that of the highly egalitarian Buid of Mindoro, Philippines and that of the equally hierarchical Makassar of South Sulawesi, Indonesia. I will demonstrate both that their cosmological structures are built out of common symbolic elements and that these structures could be used to legitimate vastly different political systems. The common symbolic elements included a gendered cosmos inhabited by a series of parallel societies composed of animal, human and spirit subjects; the conceptualisation of human sociality as generated by shared experience within a nested series of bounded spaces; and the ability of certain agents to move between these spaces by way of specialised training, vehicles and portals.

 

 

Denis Regnier

Université de la Polynésie Française, Faa'a, French Poluynesia

Forever Slaves? Inequality, Uncleanliness and Vigilance about Origins in the Southern Highlands of Madagascar

pages 249-266

In the southern highlands of Madagascar, Betsileo free descendants strictly avoid marrying descendants of slaves, whom they regard as ‘unclean people’. A close examination of the history of a slave descent group shows that the most serious difficulty faced by former slaves after abolition was not access to land but ritual uncleanliness, which prevented intermarriage with free people and led to the essentialisation of the now pervasive hierarchical distinction between clean and unclean people. Today, free descendants actively maintain a social memory of ‘origins’ and remain extremely vigilant about not marrying the slave descendants, who are ‘locked’ into an unequal and unclean status that they cannot easily escape.

 

 

Hao-Li Lin & Richard Scaglion

National Tsing Hua University, Hsinchu, Taiwan & University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, USA

Austronesian Speakers and Hereditary Leadership in the Pacific

pages 267-283

This article explores the notion that peoples speaking Austronesian languages brought the ideology of social hierarchy based on hereditary leadership into the Pacific Islands. This social model contrasts with the strongly egalitarian leadership that likely characterised peoples already residing in New Guinea and nearby islands. While complex interactions between these two groups did occur, particularly in coastal areas, the latter populations rarely adopted hierarchical models of leadership. In contrast, the institution of hereditary leadership burgeoned into elaborate chiefdoms as Austronesian speakers expanded into Remote Oceania. Using linguistic and archaeological evidence, we argue that hereditary leadership, or the institutions to support it, may already have been in place in early Austronesian societies in Taiwan. We further evaluate this correlation by reviewing ethnographic reports of chiefs and reanalysing scholarly appraisals of big-man societies and chiefdoms. We conclude that the ‘Melanesian big-man vs. Polynesian chief’ contrast corresponds largely to the Austronesian and Non-Austronesian language divide; attention to which can clarify the development of hereditary leadership in the Pacific and illuminate historical relations among cultures in Near Oceania.

 

John Barker

University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada

Mixed Grammars and Tangled Hierarchies: An Austronesian-Papuan Contact Zone in Papua New Guinea

pages 284-301

The article is divided into two parts. In the first, I explore what is known about the precontact history of Collingwood Bay based on archaeological, linguistic, and oral evidence. While much must be left to speculation, the evidence strongly suggests that the Bay has long been a meeting point between Austronesian and Papuan peoples. The second and longer part of the paper attends to the political system found in most Collingwood Bay communities. I focus here primarily on the Maisin-speaking people residing in the southern part of the Bay with whom I’ve worked since 1981. More specifically, I describe how this system incorporates both hierarchical and egalitarian aspects and has proven remarkably adaptable to social changes from the time of European first contact in the 1890s.


Keir Martin

University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway

Hierarchy and Stratification in East New Britain

pages 302-318

Hierarchy is often discussed in anthropology in terms of models that are specific to, and to an extent determinant of particular cultures. For example, the contrast between Big Man and Chief drawn by Sahlins not only appears as an emanation of distinction between two cultural orders in his account, but also as being a fundamental determinant of that cultural distinction. Likewise, the Dumontian conception of hierarchy that has been applied to a number of recent analyses of Oceanic societies is also one that emanates from and is foundational to the establishment of a distinction between Western and Indian societies. In this paper, I explore an alternative conception of emerging hierarchies in the South Pacific, that do not fit so easily into such schema. Based on fieldwork in East New Britain, I argue whilst such issues are sometimes locally glossed in terms of an ideal-type opposition between Western and local cultures, that often an understanding of these different hierarchies is not so easily contained within such a perspective.

 

Knut Rio

University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway

The Transformation of Hierarchy Following Christian Conversion in Vanuatu

pages 319-334

In this paper, I use pig-killings as an entry for understanding the transformation that has taken place with respect to hierarchy and egalitarianism in Vanuatu. In the early twentieth century accounts by John Layard there is a thorough description of the cosmological and spiritual meaning of pig-killings in the manly hierarchy of these islands. The entire society was consumed in a sacrificial cycle that each lasted for six years and involved the killing of many hundreds of pigs, the most valuable acting as substitutes for human beings. At the peak of the ritual, the greatest of men stood up on a stone platform and announced their increased status and thereby joined the ranks of the society of ancestors. Comparing this with the situation today, there is absolutely no build-up of super-human status in ceremonies. On the contrary, I argue that today, pigs are being killed, cows are being butchered and cooked, yams and taro are displayed and distributed in great quantities, and huge sums of money figure in bride price and ceremonial payments, but not for the purpose of gaining spiritual power. They instead express bilateral connections, and form a redistributive system of production. In a development linked to the introduction of Christianity, monetary value and colonial labour regimes, ceremonial life has made an almost unnoticeable turn against the former hierarchical order.

 

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See/download the pre-publication open access versions below.

 

  • Natacha Gagné & Mélanie Roustan: French Ambivalence Towards the Concept of ‘Indigenous People’: Museums and the Māori
  • Geoffrey Gray: ‘Anthropology and Sociology Were of No Value...in War Time’: Ronald and Catherine Berndt and War-Time Security, 1939–1945
  • Octavio Sacramento: For Love, Labor and Lifestyle: European Men Moving to Northeast Brazil
  • Yang Zhan: Gifting as Governance: NGO Service Projects and Disciplinary Power in Rural Migrant Settlements in China
  • Gordon Mathews: Review Article: Why Anthropologists Don't Reach the Public: A Rumination on Books of Thomas Hylland Eriksen
  • Greg Feldman: Comment: The Virtues of Theory: How Some Academics Succeeded -- Big Time -- in Reaching Non-Academic Audiences
  • John Morton: Obituary: Bradley Jennings 1964 – 2018.....

 

Natacha Gagné and Mélanie Roustan

Université Laval, Québec, Canada & Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, Paris, France

French Ambivalence Towards the Concept of ‘Indigenous People’: Museums and the Māori

pages 95-115

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Museums around the globe have experienced important changes in recent years in response to decolonisation processes and the demands of indigenous peoples. French museums are no exception, but the transformations have certain French hallmarks. This article explores the way France is dealing with its colonial legacy and, by means of two case studies, unravels the diverse political and historical particularities of the French context. The first looks at the results of a comparative analysis of the French and Québécois public’s response to the travelling exhibition E tū ake: Standing Strong produced by the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. The second focuses on the repatriation ceremony of Māori toi moko (tattooed preserved heads) that took place in Paris in January 2012. These two case studies examine the French uses of concepts such as ‘community’, ‘minority’, and ‘indigeneity’ as well as the complex relations between religion and rationality, ancestral presence and materialism in French public life. The article investigates how these concepts participate in the fabric of French society, and thus in shaping contemporary museum landscapes.

 

 

Geoffrey Gray

University of Queensland, St. Lucia, Australia

‘Anthropology and Sociology Were of No Value … in War Time’: Ronald and Catherine Berndt and War-Time Security, 1939–1945

pages 116-133

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On 3 September 1939, Australia followed the United Kingdom in declaring war on Germany. Soon afterwards a number of German nationals including Australians of German descent were placed in internment camps. For those German enemy aliens and Australians of German heritage not interned, suspicion was never far from the surface. In the case of the anthropologist Ronald Murray Berndt, what initially put him under suspicion was not his political affiliations or actions, but his German name and some of his utterances on the war which were interpreted as being pro-German. Linked to this was a concern by Australian military and government authorities that Indigenous people were potentially disloyal, and anthropologists who worked with Indigenous Australians were, by the very nature of their relationship with them, considered potential subversives. However, although Ronald Berndt always worked with his wife Catherine, only Ronald was considered a security risk. Catherine was simply seen as his wife, part of a team, about whom nothing adverse was known. This article analyses the early career of Ronald and Catherine Berndt, and the restrictions and blocks they faced in accessing field sites during WWII. An easy answer to such impairments that was made at the time and later, was that Ronald was caught during WWII in a surveillance dragnet that focused on Germanness. The reality that emerges from the archival record, however, is far more complex, and shows amongst others, the exploitation of surveillance by local establishment gatekeepers.

 

 

Octavio Sacramento

University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro, Vila Real, Portugal

For Love, Labour, and Lifestyle: European Men Moving to Northeast Brazil

pages 134-152

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This article debates the specific case of the migration of European men to Northeast Brazil and its relation to the creation of intimacy bonds with local women that have been made possible by previous tourist visits. The analysis has the principal objective of understanding the dense framework of social conditions and circumstances that cause the transatlantic mobility of men, and gives particular emphasis to the emotional and marital factors that fuel this type of movement, trying to show that they also migrate for intimacy reasons, and not only for economic reasons as studies based on a neoclassical approach have often seemed to indicate. While central, in these examples of international mobility, the intention to marry is not as determining a factor as the concept of ‘marriage migrations’ would suggest. Poetic motivations related to passion coexist dynamically with a much wider set of (micro)political economy and existential drives, related not only to employment and investment but also to recreation and the minutiae of everyday life. For this reason, it is important to avoid any unicausal schema based on exclusive or dichotomous conceptual frameworks that foreground migration for marital, lifestyle and/or employment motives. The migrations in question tend to be motivated, simultaneously, by the desire for matrimony and to secure assets, and even by what we might call ‘civilisational’ issues. The material that sustains both this and other perspectives presented in the article is the result of a multisited ethnographic fieldwork undertaken in various spaces within Euro-Brazilian configurations of intimacy.

 

 

Yang Zhan

Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Kowloon, Hong Kong

Gifting as Governance: NGO Service Projects and Disciplinary Power in Rural Migrant Settlements in China

pages 153-171

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In contemporary China, migrant workers have gathered in urban villages and formed communities of their own. The regulative power of the state has not fully penetrated these enclaves, thus creating opportunities for NGOs to shoulder many of the ongoing welfare responsibilities. The primary goal of this study was to explore how NGO service projects can generate a new type of disciplinary power through give-and-take practices. I argue that service projects allow the givers to transform their economic power and social resources into political power, through which social inequality is obscured, legitimised, and translated into the delivery of ‘love’, ‘caring’ and ‘compassion’. Such political power also delivers middle-class values and lifestyles to rural migrants, who feel obligated to transform their subjectivities in order to reciprocate. 

 

 

Gordon Mathews

The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

Why Anthropologists Don’t Reach the Public: A Rumination on Books of Thomas Hylland Eriksen

pages 172-184

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I have been asked in this essay to review two recent books of Thomas Hylland Eriksen and to place them in the context of contemporary debates in anthropology. The first two sections of this review essay discuss the recent Eriksen book Overheating, and the co-edited book Identity Destabilised, outlining the books’ core arguments. Bracketing these reviews, the essay examines the larger issue of anthropologists and the general public. It asks, now that many anthropologists have realised the importance of reaching a larger audience, why are they not being more widely read? It considers various reasons for this, and suggests that since the most fundamental ideas of the discipline have been superseded by more sophisticated and diverse modes of analysis, anthropological explications of the world may no longer have much appeal to a larger audience.

 

 

Greg Feldman

University of Windsor, Windsor, Canada

The Virtues of Theory: How Some Academics Succeeded – Big Time – in Reaching Non-Academic Audiences

pages 185-187

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This is a short essay stimulated by Why Anthropologists Don’t Reach the Public: A Rumination on Books of Thomas Hylland Eriksen, by Gordon Mathews

 

 

John Morton

La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia

Bradley Jennings 1964–2018

pages 188-189

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See/download the final papers at Taylor & Francis Online (subscription required)
See/download the pre-publication open access versions below.

 

  • Ana Aceska, Barbara Heer, Andrea Kaiser-Grolimund: Doing the City from the Margins: Critical Perspectives on Urban Marginality
  • Angel Aedo: Politics of Presence at the Urban Margins. Emplacement as a Performative Force Among Migrant-Settlers in Chile
  • Dorota Woroniecka-Krzyzanowska: The Politics of Governance and Urban Marginality: A Camp Studies Perspective
  • Ana Aceska, Barbara Heer: Everyday Encounters in the Shopping Mall: (Un)Making Boundaries in the Divided Cities of Johannesburg and Mostar
  • Karen Lane: Not-the-Troubles: Disinterring the Marginalised Stories of the Ordinary and the Everyday
  • Sandra Staudacher: Shifting Urban Margins: Accessing Unequal Spaces of Ageing and Care in Zanzibar and Muscat

 


SPECIAL ISSUE
Doing the City From the Margins: Critical Perspectives on Urban Marginality

Guest editors:

Ana Aceska, Barbara Heer and Andrea Kaiser-Grolimund

 

Ana Aceska, Barbara Heer and Andrea Kaiser-Grolimund

Wageningen University & Research, Universitat Basel Philosophisch-Historische Fakultat, and Nursing Sciences - Public Health

Doing the City from the Margins: Critical Perspectives on Urban Marginality

pages 1-11

This special issue focuses on urban marginality in diverse contexts across the world (Africa, Latin America, Arab States and Europe) and proposes anthropological perspectives on contemporary urbanity that take into account the complexity of the social positions of those city dwellers that are on the margins. Three aspects of urban margins come to the fore. First, urbanites respond to increasing marginalisation through the production of alternative meanings and narratives about the city. While grand, powerful narratives may present cities as 'divided', 'dual' or 'conflicted', urban dwellers may carve out symbolic space through discourses of the non-spectacular and non-political, emerging out of lived space. Second, the cuts and frictions constituting urban margins do not only limit urban dwellers capacities, but can also provide spaces of agentic possibilities. As it is well known, absence of state control can be turned by versatile urbanites into opportunities of the 'informal' economy. Third, urban dwellers engage in manifold practices that connect and entangle their marginalised position with spaces of power and resources. Through their practices urban margins become a relation to, not a disconnection from the “centre”.  In this special issue we understand “urban margins” not as essence or entities, but as forms of relations between urban dwellers shaped by processes of political, economic, spatial and social marginalisation. Seen in this way, urban margins constitute a perspective on the urban: a lens to entice comparisons of urban agency in the world of cities (Robinson 2011).

 

Angel Aedo

Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile

Politics of Presence at the Urban Margins. Emplacement as a Performative Force Among Migrant-Settlers in Chile

pages 12-29

Drawing from fieldwork conducted in Arica, a northern Chilean city, this paper addresses the process of ‘emplacement from the margins’ as a performative force in which materialities, affective dimensions, and claims are tied together. It analyses how migrants become settlers in unauthorised camps on the fringes of Arica. I argue that in this process a ‘politics of presence’ emerges, intimately imbricated in the material constitution of these settlements. I explore the potential of such politics to break the ‘sensible’ order and open the possibility for ignored actors to become present as legitimate urban interlocutors. I discuss aspects of what Kathleen Stewart describes as ‘ordinary things that matter’ because they shimmer precariously, such as the dynamic contingency derived from the building procedures commonly used in unauthorised camps.

 

Dorota Woroniecka-Krzyzanowska

University of Lodz, Poland

The Politics of Governance and Urban Marginality: A Camp Studies Perspective

pages 30-46

Designed to provide temporary shelter to the displaced, in protracted refugee situations camps become places of long-term residency and undergo processes of urban change. The complex realities of protracted encampment challenge the dichotomy between the city (as a norm) and the camp (as an exception) that underpins dominant theoretical models of refugee camps. Instead, the theoretical lens of urban margins allows us to circumvent this binary and analyse the camps from the perspective of their relation to the city and the state. Rather than a specific location, this article approaches urban marginality as a condition produced by unequal power relations behind the enforcement of a particular urban order. Based on two years of ethnographic fieldwork, it draws on the case of Palestinian refugee camps in the West Bank. Unlike the majority of studies on Palestinian camps that focus either on top-down politics of exclusion or political agency of camp residents, the article examines how different actors, interests and modes of exercising power (both formal and informal) intersect in camp space and produce, as well as resist and subvert, the condition of urban marginality.

 

Ana Aceska and Barbara Heer

Wageningen University & Research, Universitat Basel Philosophisch-Historische Fakultat

Everyday Encounters in the Shopping Mall: (Un)Making Boundaries in the Divided Cities of Johannesburg and Mostar

pages 47-61

The many studies that see shopping malls as places of power, control and exclusion have often neglected the potential of malls as places of encounters. Drawing on ethnographic data from the divided cities of Johannesburg in South Africa and Mostar in Bosnia-Herzegovina, we examine the ways in which urban dwellers who enter the mall from a marginalised position – poor black urban dwellers at a regional, middle class and white-dominated mall in Johannesburg and Bosniak city dwellers at a mall located in the Croat part of Mostar – use the mall, what kind of relations they build to others and how they rework boundaries of race, class, religion and ethnicity at the mall. Rather than being spaces that strengthen and reproduce centre-margins relations, urban dwellers appropriate them as places where these relations become reworked.

 

Karen Lane

University of St Andrews

Not-the-Troubles: Disinterring the Marginalised Stories of the Ordinary and the Everyday

pages 62-76

Urban studies of Belfast, Northern Ireland, thoroughly explore the contested or post-conflict city. However, these ‘grand narratives’ do not necessarily accord with people’s day-to-day experiences. Although the ordinary and everyday is the lifeblood of anthropological inquiry, the mundane in Belfast dwells on the narratorial margin, as academic and political loci predominantly align to the Troubles: to the protagonists, the causes or the peace-building aftermath. Ten by Nine (Tenx9) is a monthly, public storytelling night showcasing ordinary people and their true, personal, everyday stories, juxtaposing the funny, poignant and educational, and celebrating the quotidian. Retelling Belfast at Tenx9 challenges hegemonic discourse by moving the mundane from the margin to the centre, opening up a space for small ‘t’ troubles to be shared. The communitas at Tenx9 promotes a sense of belonging in the city outwith Troubled narratives and storytelling, an ancient Irish oral culture, becomes a new form of symbolic practice.

 


Sandra Staudacher

University of Basel

Shifting Urban Margins: Accessing Unequal Spaces of Ageing and Care in Zanzibar and Muscat

pages 77-94

Older people constitute a growing proportion of the urban population and are encountered in all kinds of spaces and neighbourhoods across cities. This article argues that urban seniority and elderly care are a fruitful, new lens to study how inhabitants on the social margins create urban space and social cohesion. This article draws on ethnographic research in the cities of Zanzibar, Tanzania, and Muscat, the capital of Oman. Many older inhabitants of cities experience frailty, serious health problems, or even disabilities and are no longer able to work or make a living, which pushes them towards the social margins. The ethnographic examples and reflections in this article illustrate, first, how cities can be investigated from the perspective of social and spatial marginality. Second, they show how urban dwellers’ social positions can shift between the margins and centres of an urban society depending on their health and access to unequal spaces of ageing and care. And third, the paper analyses how some elders respond to marginality by taking up transnational and cosmopolitan agency.

 

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  • Alex Golub: Introduction: The Politics of Order in Contemporary Papua New Guinea
  • Tobias Schwoerer: ‘Mipela Makim Gavman’: Unofficial Village Courts and Local Perceptions of Order in the Eastern Highlands of Papua New Guinea
  • Barbara Andersen: Cultural Competency and Rural Disorder in PNG Health Promotion
  • Ivo Syndicus: Crowds, Affect, and the Mediation of Emergent Collectivities: A Student Strike in Papua New Guinea as an Order Making Project
  • Lamont Lindstrom: Afterword: In Search of Melanesian Order

SPECIAL ISSUE
The Politics of Order in Contemporary Papua New Guinea

 

Alex Golub

University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa

Introduction: The Politics of Order in Contemporary Papua New Guinea

pages 331-341

This collection of articles seeks to demonstrate that the concept of order – the intensive and extensive coordination of human action across space and time – is useful for answering some of the most pressing theoretical and practical questions in contemporary Papua New Guinea (PNG) today. Building on existing work in this field [Benda-Beckmann, K., and F. Pirie. 2007. “Introduction.” In Order and Disorder: Anthropological Perspectives, 1–15. New York: Berghahn Books] in this special issue we ask: How do people create enduring, stable, and routinised life in contemporary Melanesia today? We position our work as the next step in a growing movement to study contemporary institutions in PNG as order-making projects, rather than attempting to divide them into legitimate projects like ‘government’ and false or ineffective ones like ‘cargo cults’.

 

Tobias Schwoerer

Universität Luzern

‘Mipela Makim Gavman’: Unofficial Village Courts and Local Perceptions of Order in the Eastern Highlands of Papua New Guinea

pages 342-358

In remote villages of the Eastern Highlands of Papua New Guinea, where official village courts and other state institutions are absent, local leaders routinely hold unofficial village courts to maintain law and order. They base their decisions on local perceptions of order and justice, all the while emulating elements of state justice and constantly referring to the state as the source of their legitimacy. As these unofficial judicial institutions historically emerged as a convergence of local patterns of leadership with colonial concepts of order, they neither form a completely new nor completely autochthonous method of conflict settlement, but are an example of para-statehood, in which local leaders take on state functions in the absence of the state.

 

Barbara Andersen

Massey University Auckland

Cultural Competency and Rural Disorder in PNG Health Promotion

pages 359-376

Health workers in Papua New Guinea strongly emphasise their duty to provide services to the country’s rural majority. Trained to see rural communities as lacking modern discipline and order, they worry that rural people will resist, perhaps with violence, if health workers fail to ‘show respect for culture’. Examining cultural improvisation among nursing students on a rural experience practicum in the Eastern Highlands, I show how students and teachers tried to craft culturally respectful health education. However, when difficulties emerged, local people were described as unable or unwilling to harim tok (understand, heed or follow instructions). The capacity to follow instructions, cultivated through education and Christian faith, was cast as incompatible with Highlands culture. Rural health promotion activities, when they fail to foment major transformation, can help reproduce the ideological construction of the people of the hauslain (village, hamlet) as emotionally volatile and ungovernable.

 

Ivo Syndicus

National University of Ireland Maynoth

Crowds, Affect, and the Mediation of Emergent Collectivities: A Student Strike in Papua New Guinea as an Order Making Project

pages 377-393

From the institutional perspective of a university, student strikes mark a time of heightened disorder. In this contribution, I turn this perspective around and analyse a student strike at the University of Goroka in the Papua New Guinea highlands as an order-making project instead. The observed student strike established an alternative regime among students, which was reinforced through a sense of having achieved a superior sophistication of order through the effective, and affective, alignment of minds and bodies into a single entity. Placing the achievement of collective unity in relation to what appears as Melanesian notions of order on one hand, and recent re-evaluations of the psychology of crowds within anthropology and sociology on the other hand, I explore conceptual connections in the work of ‘mediation’ between order making in Melanesia and contemporary (critiques of) affect theory.

 

Lamont Lindstrom

University of Tulsa

Afterword: In Search of Melanesian Order

pages 394-403

These essays explore three contemporary forms of order in Papua New Guinea: improvised village courts, a nursing school curriculum including village practicums, and student boycotts and strikes. My comments assess these new sorts of order as reflected against earlier ethnographic accounts of Papua New Guinean societies as well as those elsewhere in Melanesia. This often has taken the region’s social groups and lineages, religions and belief systems, and most recently the Melanesian state itself to be weak, messy, and inconstant. I ask how culturally ‘Melanesian’ are these contemporary examples of order and disorder, and find significant continuities in their underlying nostalgia for an imagined, more orderly past, in beliefs about causes of disorder, and in strategies and remedies to order and reorder everyday life.

 

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SPECIAL ISSUE

SPECIAL ISSUE: MORAL HORIZONS OF LAND AND PLACE
(Guest Editors: Victoria Stead and Michèle Dominy)

  • Victoria Stead and Michèle Dominy: Moral Horizons of Land and Place
  • Victoria Stead: History as Resource: Moral Reckonings with Place and with the Postwar Past in Oro Province, PNG
  • Patrick Guinness: The Unbounded Space and Moral Transgression: Capitalist Expansion in West New Britain
  • Ute Eickelkamp: Emplacing Christ: An Indigenous Australian Ethics of Placemaking Across Borders
  • Siad Darwish: Balad El-Ziblé (Country of Rubbish): Moral Geographies of Waste in Post-Revolutionary Tunisia
  • Yuka Suzuki: The Good Farmer: Morality, Expertise, and the Depoliticisation of Whiteness in Zimbabwe
  • Michèle D. Dominy: Settler Postcolonial Ecologies and Native Species Regeneration on Banks Peninsula, New Zealand

 


SPECIAL ISSUE

SPIRITS OF UNCERTAINTY: MORAL HORIZONS OF LAND AND PLACE
Guest Editors: Victoria Stead and Michèle Dominy

 

Victoria Stead and Michèle Dominy

Alfred Deakin Institute, Deakin University
Anthropology, Bard College

Moral Horizons of Land and Place

pages 1-15

 

A recent ‘moral turn’ in anthropology has cast new light on morality as a subject of ethnographic inquiry, and on the making of moral meaning and judgment. This article, and the special issue it prefaces, contribute to this emergent literature through foregrounding and examining the moral dimensions of land and place. Taking up Didier Fassin’s injunction for a critical moral anthropology—rather than an anthropology of morality—we look to land and place as groundings for moral challenges and practices that are nevertheless not place-bound. A critical moral anthropology of land and place should be directed, we argue, to the interplay of mobility and emplacement, to the dynamics of landscape and ‘dwelling’, and to the multiplicities of expectation and meaning that surround the making and exploitation of resources. In contexts of global and local change, land and place offer productive grounds from which to consider the moral horizons—both spatial and temporal—of our world and our discipline.

 

 

Victoria Stead

Alfred Deakin Institute, Deakin University

History as Resource: Moral Reckonings with Place and with the Postwar Past in Oro Province, PNG

pages 16-31

 

Located in Oro Province, Papua New Guinea, Higaturu Station is a place marked by multiple intersections of violence. Originally established as an Australian colonial headquarters, in 1943 it was the site of execution of 21 local Orokaiva men convicted—by the Australian administration—of treason during the Second World War. Eight years after the executions, the nearby Mount Lamington volcano erupted, killing thousands and devastating Higaturu. Today the place remains uninhabited but laden with memory and meaning, a site of ambivalent moral reckonings both with the colonial past and with the postcolonial present. These moral reckonings in turn intersect with peoples’ experiences of, and hopes for, ‘development’. In Oro Province, history is becoming a resource—not unlike gold, or the oil palm plantations that extend across the landscape—which might attract outsiders, and with them forms of wealth and possibilities for realising the good life. Accordingly, Higaturu landowners work to attract outsiders to the site of the eruption and the hangings. At the same time, however, they worry that the outsiders they attract—including anthropologists—will exploit and profit from their history in the ways that so many outsiders have profited from the Province’s other resources. Commercial considerations inform these hopes and worries, but the mobilisation of history-as-resource also speaks to other concerns, including about the relationships of insiders and outsiders across time, and the proper attributions of guilt, responsibility and entitlement within colonial and postcolonial landscapes of remembrance.

 

 

Patrick Guinness

ANU Research School of Humanities and the Arts, School of Archaeology and Anthropology

The Unbounded Space and Moral Transgression: Capitalist Expansion in West New Britain

pages 32-44

 

Capitalist transformations in West New Britain Province, Papua New Guinea, have focused on setting boundaries on land and social relations as an efficient way to generate productive relations. But for the Maututu around Bialla town where the palm oil industry has been established the perception of productivity rests not on establishing boundaries but on exploring horizons. Recent dramatic changes to the economy and demography of this area have introduced moral conflict into Maututu endeavours to generate wellbeing. Maututu have responded to these conflicts in ways that continue to bring their indigenous morality to bear on the moral strategies pursued by state and capitalist forces.

 

 

Ute Eickelkamp

School for Social and Political Sciences, The University of Sydney

Emplacing Christ: An Indigenous Australian Ethics of Placemaking Across Borders

pages 45-60

Travelling from my old heimat, Germany, I joined in September 2015 a group of Anangu Pitjantjatjara Bible translators on a two-week long pilgrimage to the Holy Land. This journey offered further probing into Anangu attachments to place that, until then, I had only known through ethnographic research in their desert homelands in northern South Australia. In the present article I explore how and why the Anangu Christians forged links with biblically inscribed places to which they had no ancestral ties. What they did bring is a deep-seated sense of emotional connection with Jesus abiding in heaven, and here the pilgrimage was a chance to anchor this relationship in his land—to emplace Christ. Notable in this process of shifting the presence of Jesus from heaven to earth was the pilgrims’ moral concern to keep separate the emplaced stories of their ancestral lands on one hand, and the grounded narratives of the Christian Scriptures on the other. In Jonathan Mair and Nicholas Evans’ terms, their approach was one of ‘incommensuration’, a strategy to avoid moral conflict by refusing to make comparisons between religious traditions. My article may thus be read as an ethnographic contribution towards the understanding of an Australian Indigenous ethics of placemaking across borders.

 

 

Siad Darwish

Department of Anthropology, Rutgers University

Balad El-Ziblé (Country of Rubbish): Moral Geographies of Waste in Post-Revolutionary Tunisia

pages 61-73

 

Waste sullies, physically and morally, polluting people and places, and defining or altering their position within social and spatial hierarchies. Given this polluting quality and the moral charge of the idiom of pollution, waste and its distribution are indicative of how places are imbued with moral judgment and at the same time waste illustrates how places themselves can become morally polluting. In the context of a waste crisis that followed the Tunisian Revolution of 2011, it is argued here that an attention to waste as material and symbolic category demonstrates the recursive relationship between materials, people, their thoughts and actions, in the moralisation of place. Examining this waste crisis in terms of a Tunisian moral geography of waste, which was established under colonialism and labels certain people and places as clean and dirty, reveals the dynamic and historically-contingent nature of moral spaces and depicts them as sites for socio-spatial struggles that in themselves illuminate the revolution in novel ways. Finally, it is concluded that the polluting quality of waste spilled over the boundaries of Tunisia’s moral geography to morally sully the whole time period and political process of Tunisia’s transition.

 

 

Yuka Suzuki

Anthropology, Bard College

The Good Farmer: Morality, Expertise, and the Depoliticisation of Whiteness in Zimbabwe

pages 74-88

 

In Zimbabwe, land has always been a visible index of racial domination and oppression. Following independence in 1980, the redistribution of white property to black farmers emerged as one of the most contentious battlegrounds for refiguring citizenship and nationhood. This article explores how white farmers in a small community in western Zimbabwe fought to establish claims to belonging as they faced the threat of imminent land reform at the turn of the millennium. Drawing upon Tania Li’s concept of articulation (2000), I suggest that farmers constructed themselves both as moral subjects who cared for the environment, and skilled subjects with the technical know-how to safeguard and maximise the country’s resources. In the absence of claims to indigeneity, farmers attempted to offset their own compromised morality by invoking the language of expertise. By examining this intersection between morality and expertise, I argue that white farmers in Zimbabwe brought together logics typically imagined to be distinct as a strategy to claim moral belonging while obscuring the historical and political factors that threatened to void those same claims.

 


Michèle D. Dominy

Anthropology, Bard College

Settler Postcolonial Ecologies and Native Species Regeneration on Banks Peninsula, New Zealand

pages 89-106

 

The 2050 Ecological Vision for Banks Peninsula, New Zealand is ‘to create an environment in which the community values, protects and cares for the biodiversity, landscape and special character of Banks Peninsula’. Its aspirational goals point to the peninsula conservation trust’s vision for success on the moral horizons of land and place. These horizons stretch visually from the volcanic crater ridgelines to the outer coastal bays and the sea beyond. Temporally they span one hundred and seventy-five years of cultural encounters of peoples and biota, and reveal community-based strategies designed to support thriving biodiversity on land that has been used primarily for production. This article draws on event, textual and interview data as well as fieldwork conducted in 2015 during the 175th anniversary of organised European settlement. Settler pasts and presents are negotiated in natural heritage preservation through the restoration of native flora and fauna in natural areas and protected connectivity corridors. A settler postcolonial ecology for these hill country lands is committed to the simultaneous conservation of biological and cultural diversity in which indigenous flora and fauna, landscapes and people, are irreversibly hybridised, and endemic species become constitutive of a postcolonial national identity in Aotearoa New Zealand.