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Emerging Class in Papua New Guinea

Emerging Class in Papua New Guinea
The Telling of Difference


  • Date Published: August 1999
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521655675

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About the Authors
  • This accessible 1999 study of social class in contemporary Papua New Guinea deals with the new elite, its culture and its institutions, and its relationship to the broader society. The Papua New Guinea described here is not a place of exotic tribesmen, but a modernising society, shaped by global forces, and increasingly divided on class lines. The authors describes the life-style of the elite Wewak, a typical commercial centre, their golf clubs and Rotary gatherings, and bring home the ways in which differences of status are created, experienced and justified. In a country with a long tradition of egalitarianism, it has become at once possible and plausible for relatively affluent 'nationals' to present themselves in a wide range of contexts as fundamentally superior to 'bushy' people, to blame the poor for their misfortunes, and to turn their backs on their less successful relatives.

    • Written as a textbook, it looks at the subtle and complex workings of world systems and shows how they impinge on real people's lives
    • A follow on to the authors' two other successful books on Papua New Guinea, written at the same level, and both widely adopted in course teaching
    • Brings home the reality of class - the way that differences in worth are created, experienced, and justified
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    Product details

    • Date Published: August 1999
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521655675
    • length: 192 pages
    • dimensions: 228 x 153 x 14 mm
    • weight: 0.318kg
    • contains: 12 b/w illus. 1 map
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    List of illustrations
    1. Introduction
    2. The middle class, the (new) Melanesian way: the Wewak Rotary Club
    3. How the grass roots became the poor: the sleights of hand in the construction of desire
    4. The realization of class exclusions: golf and the boundaries of solidarity
    5. The hidden injuries of class: desiring the unattainable
    6. The problem(s) of the poor: law, order and tinned mackerel and water buffalo
    7. Class and the definition of reasonability: the case of the 'compo girl'
    Conclusion: on dark nights of the soul

  • Authors

    Deborah B. Gewertz, Amherst College, Massachusetts

    Frederick K. Errington, Trinity College, Connecticut

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