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Anna-Karina Hermkens

Holger Jebens, Pathways to heaven: Contesting mainline and fundamentalist Christianity in Papua New Guinea. Oxford and New York: Berghahn Books, 2005, 256 pp., ISBN 1-84545-005-1 (hardback).

James Leach, Creative land: Place and procreation on the Rai Coast of Papua New Guinea. Oxford and New York: Berghahn Books, 2004, 256 pp., ISBN 1-57181-693-3 (paperback).

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Pentecostalism and Egalitarianism in Melanesia

A Reconsideration of the Pentecostal Gender Paradox

Annelin Eriksen

Eriksen 2014 ). The latter, I will claim, constitutes a gradually emerging cosmology in Melanesian contexts. It is in the rapid growth of some of the international Pentecostal churches that this transformation is mostly visible because here the idea that

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Making Friends of the Nations

Australian Interwar Magazines and Middlebrow Orientalism in the Pacific

Victoria Kuttainen and Sarah Galletly

these regions into vacation destinations. Gibson maintains that “the company’s favored islands were practically interchangeable” and “[a] vast array of cultures, including those of Papua New Guinea (PNG) as well as the Melanesian islands, tended to be

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The Gift of Shame

The Invention of Postcolonial Society

Karen Sykes

Twenty-five years ago, Roy Wagner in his book, The Invention of Culture asked his reader to comprehend the invention of society as an ongoing effort, especially an effort made by members aware of the changes that can be wrought by their actions. In doing so, he posed the problem of what kind of society people thought they were making, contrasting the social contract of the Euro-American political thought with the processual sociality imagined by Melanesians (1975, 1974). The theoretical insights of Wagner can be brought to bear on the period of independence in Papua New Guinea when Melanesians were making a new sociality. I will discuss the dialectics of Wagner’s approach, as they are played out at the time of the publication of his book; that is, in the early years of the creation of the new nation of Papua New Guinea.

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Introduction

Cutting and Connecting—'Afrinesian' Perspectives on Networks, Relationality, and Exchange

Knut Christian Myhre

This introduction sketches the history of anthropological network analysis and examines its influence and significance with regard to contemporary conceptual and theoretical concerns in the discipline. It is argued that recent Melanesian ethnography is an effect of, and owes a debt to, certain mid-twentieth-century developments in Africanist anthropology. These debts allow for the elicitation of concepts and concerns from Melanesianist anthropology and their deployment in the analysis of African ethnography. Such deployment may in turn explore the limits of these conceptual constructs and allow for their return in distorted and extended forms. As demonstrated by the contributors to this special issue, the historical relationships between Melanesian ethnography and Africanist anthropology hence enable an exchange of theoretical gifts and traffic in analytics that cut the network and separate the two regions, thus allowing for a new form of anthropological comparison.

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Adam Reed

This afterword is not a direct response to individual essays; it is instead a response to the spirit of the 'Afrinesia' experiment as a whole. It is prompted by a desire to imagine a return on the goodwill of the contributors to this special issue: Africanists thinking through the lessons and limits of Melanesian anthropology. In considering what Melanesianists might gain from thinking through Africanist anthropology, I speculate on potential openings. This includes an appreciation of the way that the experiment produces an effect of conventionality in the (Melanesianist) reader.

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Richard Vokes

This article responds to Michael Herzfeld's call for anthropologists to develop a new form of 'reflexive comparison' by imaginatively casting the peoples of the African Great Lakes as part of Melanesia. Specifically, it explores how notions of personhood and sociality in this African setting might be understood through interpretative approaches developed in the New Melanesian Ethnography of the 1970s and 1980s. It finds that this sort of thought experiment yields key insights by focusing analytical attention upon concepts of shared vital substances, upon practices intended to control the flow of these substances, and upon the agency of non-human actors (especially cattle) in shaping these processes. An examination of these features suggests new perspectives on a range of ethnographic 'problems', from condom use to Rwanda's ubuhake cattle exchange.

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Giovanni da Col and Caroline Humphrey

As with the preceding companion issue (Social Analysis 56, no. 1), this special issue is concerned with the ways in which fortune, luck, and chance are conceived in a range of different societies and how these concepts are employed to negotiate the contingencies and uncertainties of everyday life. Taken together, the articles gathered in this second collection deal with human attempts to project their desire for mastering uncertainties about the future while solving the moral predicaments of fortune’s proportions and their management in everyday life. Ranging from Melanesian and Greek gamblers to online gamers and Siberian hunters, from lay Chinese mathematicians of fate to young Mongolians, the ethnographies in this special issue reveal the creative potentials of practical matrixes for calculating luck and mobilizing diverse ‘technologies of anticipation’ of the future. A few of the articles present rites to invoke fortune, gambling, or games as practices to master contingency and as generative fields of agentive creativity and subjectivity.

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Membering and Dismembering

The Poetry and Relationality of Animal Bodies in Kilimanjaro

Knut Christian Myhre

This article extends Malcolm Ruel's notion of 'non-sacrificial ritual killing' to explore the mode of butchering and the sharing of meat among the Chagga-speaking people of Tanzania. It is argued that these processes are forms of elicitation and decomposition that can be illuminated by analytics developed from Melanesian ethnography. However, it is shown that these processes emerge as such only when the language use surrounding and pertaining to butchering is taken into consideration. On this basis, it is argued that butchering constitutes a poetic enunciation that both distorts and expands the mode of revelation and the relational form described from Melanesia. Finally, it is claimed that this entails an alternative relationship between language and life that recasts the relation between vernacular and analytical language, as well as between theory and ethnography.

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The Place of Theory

Rights, Networks, and Ethnographic Comparison

Harri Englund and Thomas Yarrow

The relationship between theory and place has remained a central problem for the discipline of anthropology. Focusing on debates around the concepts of human rights and networks, specifically as these traverse African and Melanesian contexts, this article highlights how novel ideas emerge through sustained comparison across different regions. Rather than understanding places as sources of theories to be applied to other contexts, we argue that anthropologists need to recognize how new concepts are generated through reflexive comparison across different regions. This analysis leads us to question a widespread propensity to understand places as the sine qua non of anthropological theory, proposing instead that place emerges retrospectively as an artifact of comparison. We conclude that while it is therefore necessary to acknowledge the analytic construction of Africa and its sub-regions, there remain compelling reasons to recognize its analytic utility.