Melanesian Odysseys: Negotiating the Self, Narrative, and Modernity | BERGHAHN BOOKS
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Melanesian Odysseys: Negotiating the Self, Narrative, and Modernity

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Melanesian Odysseys

Negotiating the Self, Narrative, and Modernity

Lisette Josephides

272 pages, 5 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-84545-525-5 $135.00/£99.00 / Hb / Published (July 2008)

ISBN  978-1-84545-706-8 $34.95/£27.95 / Pb / Published (January 2010)

eISBN 978-0-85745-055-5 eBook

View CartYour country: - edit Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format)Recommend to your LibraryAvailable in GOBI®


…a bold attempt to reshape ethnographic approaches to Melanesia.  ·  JRAI

"The effect is refreshing. The book is written with an immediacy of feeling for place and time and persons... It is a real pleasure to read, its theoretical impetus shot through with insights and aphorisms that can only have come from long reflected-upon ethnographic wisdom. This engaging book will be much debated, and deserves to be."  ·  Marilyn Strathern in The Australian Journal of Anthropology

"...convincing and empathetic, rich in detail, and clearly based on a lifetime of fieldwork and friendship."  ·  Pacific Affairs


In a series of epic self-narratives ranging from traditional cultural embodiments to picaresque adventures, Christian epiphanies and a host of interactive strategies and techniques for living, Kewa Highlanders (PNG) attempt to shape and control their selves and their relentlessly changing world. This lively account transcends ethnographic particularity and offers a wide-reaching perspective on the nature of being human. Inverting the analytic logic of her previous work, which sought to uncover what social structures concealed, Josephides focuses instead on the cultural understandings that people make explicit in their actions and speech. Using approaches from philosophy and anthropology, she examines elicitation (how people create their selves and their worlds in the act of making explicit) and mimesis (how anthropologists produce ethnographies), to arrive at an unexpected conclusion: that knowledge of self and other alike derives from self-externalization rather than self-introspection.

Lisette Josephides is Professor of Anthropology at Queen’s University Belfast, following many years of fieldwork in Papua New Guinea and teaching positions at the University of Papua New Guinea, the London School of Economics and the University of Minnesota.

Subject: Anthropology (General)
Area: Asia-Pacific


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