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An Anthropology of Village Courts in Papua New Guinea
334 pages, 11 illus., bibliog., index
ISBN 978-1-84545-561-3 $145.00/£107.00 / Hb / Published (July 2009)
eISBN 978-1-84545-922-2 eBook
“Because [Goddard’s excellent book] is rooted in ethnographies that are both thorough and comparative, it is for the most part convincing. To show that corruption is not a problem in these courts, he adds history to ethnography, demonstrating that magistrates maintained their integrity despite years of woefully inadequate pay… an outstanding defense of Village Courts’ policy and practices.” · Pacific Affairs
Papua New Guinea's village court system was introduced in 1974, partly in an effort to overcome the legal, geographical, and social distance between village societies and the country's formal courts. There are now more than 1100 village courts all over PNG, hearing thousands of cases each week. This anthropological study is grounded in ethnographic research on three different village courts and the communities they serve. It also explores the colonial historical background to the establishment of the village court system, and the local and global processes influencing the efforts of village courts to deal with everyday disputes among grassroots Melanesians.
Born in England, Michael Goddard now lives in Australia. He has carried out anthropological fieldwork in Papua New Guinea since 1985 and is the author of The Unseen City: Anthropological Perspectives on Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea (Pandanus Books 2005). He is currently a Senior Lecturer in Anthropology at the University of Newcastle, Australia.
Subject: Anthropology (General)Sociology
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