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Mangrove Man

Mangrove Man
Dialogics of Culture in the Sepik Estuary

Part of Cambridge Studies in Social and Cultural Anthropology

  • Date Published: November 1997
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521564359

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About the Authors
  • This book is the first modern ethnography of the Murik, a relatively large and important community settled on the Sepik River estuary in Papua New Guinea, and the only book of a non-Western culture drawing on the conceptual framework of the Russian literary theorist, Mikhail Bakhtin. Murik men, who exercise political power, conceptualize women as the source of nurture, generosity and love. This conceptualization creates for men a kind of existential problem, and their claim to sustain and reproduce society requires them to appropriate the nurturant qualities of women. So they must, in some sense, model certain aspects of themselves after women. A 'maternal schema' or 'poetics of the female body', therefore underlines the sociocultural patterns of these societies. This schema expresses itself in a range of societal domains: in kinship relations, life-cycle rituals, the men's cults, and in disputes and processes of conflict resolution. The issues discussed tie in with some of the major contemporary debates in the social sciences: the relationship between ideas of male and female power.

    • Engages feminist and Western social theory of the body
    • The first Bakhtinian analysis to be applied in a non-Western ethnographic setting
    • Analyses the culture of one of the leading producers of famed Sepik art
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Mangrove man is a powerful and compelling addition to the theoretical repertoire which has been brought to bear on Melanesian gender, ritual and politics.' Canberra Anthropology

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    Product details

    • Date Published: November 1997
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521564359
    • length: 358 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 19 mm
    • weight: 0.48kg
    • contains: 30 b/w illus. 4 maps 17 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    Part I. Dialogics of the Maternal Schema and the Uterine Body:
    2. A predicament in space
    3. The maternal schema and the uterine body
    4. The heraldic body
    5. Who succeeded Ginau?
    Part II. Dialogics of the Maternal Schema and the Cosmic Body of Man:
    6. A body more carnal
    7. The sexuality and aggression of the cosmic body
    Part III. Dialogics of the Maternal Schema in Social Control:
    8. Conflict and reproduction of society
    9. Social control and law.

  • Author

    David Lipset, University of Minnesota

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