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South Coast New Guinea Cultures


  • 6 b/w illus. 8 tables
  • Page extent: 316 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.64 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 306/.0995
  • Dewey version: 20
  • LC Classification: GN671.N5 K64 1993
  • LC Subject headings:
    • Ethnology--New Guinea
    • New Guinea--Social life and customs
    • Melanesians--Sexual behavior
    • Melanesians--Social life and customs

Library of Congress Record


 (ISBN-13: 9780521418829 | ISBN-10: 0521418828)

The communities of south coast New Guinea were the subject of classic ethnographies, and fresh studies in recent decades have put these rich and complex cultures at the centre of anthropological debates. Flamboyant sexual practices, such as ritual homosexuality, have attracted particular interest. In the first general book on the region, Dr Knauft reaches striking new comparative conclusions through a careful ethnographic analysis of sexuality, the status of women, ritual and cosmology, political economy, and violence among the region's seven major language-culture areas. The findings suggest new Melanesian regional contrasts and provide for a general critique of the way regional comparisons are constructed in anthropology. Theories of practice and political economy as well as post-modern insights are drawn upon to provide a generative theory of indigenous social and symbolic development.

• The first anthropological study of south coast New Guinea for nearly forty years • The author makes available the ethnography of the region in a critical and systematic form • The author is a respected anthropologist, well known in the field


Part I. Grounding: 1. Theoretical and ethnographic context; 2. Historical background and regional configuration; Part II. Critique: 3. Sexuality in the regional analysis of south New Guinea; 4. The analytic legacy of homosexual emphasis: language, subsistence, and political economy; 5. Women's status; 6. Trends in comparative analysis; Part III. Reconfiguration: 7. Theoretical reconfiguration; 8. Marind-anim; 9. Symbolic and sociopolitical permutations; 10. Regional characteristics and comparisons; Appendix; Notes; References; Index.

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