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An Introduction to the Anthropology of Melanesia

An Introduction to the Anthropology of Melanesia
Culture and Tradition


  • Date Published: October 1998
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521588362


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About the Authors
  • This Introduction to the Anthropology of Melanesia is intended for undergraduate anthropology students with some grounding in the issues and ideas that inform the discipline, and for courses in Pacific Studies. Each chapter focuses on a topic common to many cultures in the region, such as the role of so-called Big Men, ancestors, male initiation, and exchange, and these ideas are fleshed out with apt ethnographic examples. Melanesia is a fascinating culture area, and has always been a popular fieldwork site for anthropologists, including W. H. R. Rivers, Bronislaw Malinowski, Margaret Mead, and Gregory Bateson. Some of the most important theoretical contributions to the subject were also first formulated with reference to Melanesian studies, and students today still learn much of their basic anthropology from Melanesian examples.

    • Specifically crafted as an undergraduate textbook, an arresting and intriguing choice of topics which will appeal to students
    • Far greater range of topics covered than in any previous books on the area and effective interweaving of theory and ethnography
    • A balanced introduction to some of the key theoretical ideas in anthropology
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    Product details

    • Date Published: October 1998
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521588362
    • length: 280 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 16 mm
    • weight: 0.42kg
    • contains: 60 b/w illus. 15 maps 6 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction to Melanesia
    2. Food gathering, fishing, and hunting in the Fly estuary
    3. Swidden cultivation in the Bismarck Range
    4. Socialisation in the Admiralty Islands
    5. Exchange cycles in the Massim Archipelago
    6. Sociopolitical exchange in the Southern Highlands
    7. Big men on Bougainville Island
    8. Technology in the highlands fringe
    9. Gender relations in the Western Highlands
    10. Dispute settlement around the Paniai lakes
    11. Sorcery on Dobu Island
    12. Warfare and cannibalism in the Balim region
    13. Initiation rites on the Sepik river
    14. Ancestors and illness in the shadow of the Owen Stanley Range
    15. Myth in the Star mountains.

  • Author

    Paul Sillitoe, University of Durham

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