Studies in Melanesian Anthropology

Kenneth E. Read, Author University of California Press $35 (269p) ISBN 978-0-520-05664-0
Revisiting the highlands of Papua New Guinea where he had done anthropological fieldwork some 30 years agothe basis of his earlier The High ValleyRead found that Westernization has brought mixed blessings to the Gahuku, the adventurous, warm Melanesian people with whom he lived. Antagonism and distance between the sexes have eased up. More relaxed sexual mores now prevail, and young women may meet men at the ""disco'' tavern or in the marketplace. The ``six to six,'' a dance that lasts from 6 p.m. until the following morning, is a popular event. The manly nama cult, with its flute music and climactic rituals glorifying masculinity, has vanished. Women now receive education along with men, travel freely and openly oppose male social controls. Yet Read worries about what he considers misguided attempts to graft fundamentalist Christianity onto this culture, and he envisages a marginal, impoverished position for the Gahuku in the world economy. Part memoir, part field report, this is an affectionate portrait of a people in the turmoil of social change. (April)
Reviewed on: 03/04/1986
Release date: 03/01/1986
Paperback - 978-0-520-06468-3
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