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Dreams Made Small: The Education of Papuan Highlanders in Indonesia

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Volume 9

ASAO Studies in Pacific Anthropology

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Dreams Made Small

The Education of Papuan Highlanders in Indonesia

Jenny Munro

216 pages, 22 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78533-684-3 $135.00/£99.00 / Hb / Published (May 2018)

eISBN 978-1-78533-759-8 eBook

View Cart Your country: - edit   Buy the eBook! $34.95info on epub format Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


“A richly detailed and comprehensive portrayal of Dani students. Jenny Munro’s monograph is an important book to read for both students of Pacific anthropology and education as well as more generally.” • Journal of the Anthropological Society of Oxford

“Munro's approach makes for a strong study of a people who are struggling in every way and constantly have to live with racial tensions and stigmatization…This is a courageous ethnographic study.” • Volkskunde

“One of the pleasing things about this ethnography is that while we are aware of the author’s presence, there is no sense in which she is the star. Her writing style has a clarity that makes confronting the analysis inescapable. This book is a must read for those of us with an interest in Melanesian/Indonesian anthropology and political life. It should also be a starting point for those educators seeking to improve outcomes for people on the margins. Ultimately, as an ethnography, it is a gem.” • American Anthropologist

“Cross-referencing Indonesian and international studies on race, sociology, education and development allows this detailed ethnography to be scaffolded by theory but never straightjacketed by it, producing a portrait of grassroots Papuan experiences in the Indonesian archipelago infrequently documented in scholarly studies.” • The Australian Journal of Anthropology

“Jenny Munro’s [book] is one of the finest pieces of anthropology about West Papua by a foreign scholar in recent years… Although it is a detailed study of one segment of Papua’s complex society, Munro’s study provides critical insights into Papuan cultural identity, political aspirations.” • Anthropos

“Anthropological studies based on recent field research among Papuans are few. However, Munro’s study is not merely to be welcomed because it is rare. Its importance is that it contributes significantly, and clearly, to the analysis of ethnic divisions in Indonesia and efforts by Papuans to deal with these divisions.” • Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde

“This book is the honest story of Dani students, which accurately illustrates their steps towards education and fulfilling dreams of improving life quality back at home. It is a great resource for the reader to understand the position of the Papua people in Indonesia.” • Anthropological Notebooks

“…a superb ethnography in which Munro shows the rich textures of the everyday and voices of Papuans, something rarely found in dominant and political-oriented studies of the region… Without a doubt, Munro’s book will be an important reading for those who work with issues of education and race, critical race theories, youth, citizenship and Indonesian nationalism.” • The Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology

“This excellent ethnography of the racialization of education in Indonesia describes and analyzes the prejudices suffered by Papuan Dani students with great sensitivity and empathy, weaving a very careful and intricate image of the life of students.” • Christine Jourdan, Concordia University


For the last five decades, the Dani of the central highlands of West Papua, along with other Papuans, have struggled with the oppressive conditions of Indonesian rule. Formal education holds the promise of escape from stigmatization and violence. Dreams Made Small offers an in-depth, ethnographic look at journeys of education among young Dani men and women, asking us to think differently about education as a trajectory for transformation and belonging, and ultimately revealing how dreams of equality are shaped and reshaped in the face of multiple constraints.

Jenny Munro is Lecturer in Anthropology at the University of Queensland, Australia. Her research focuses on sexual and reproductive health, alcohol, violence and sovereignty in West Papua.

Subject: Anthropology (General) Educational Studies Cultural Studies (General)
Area: Asia-Pacific


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Library Recommendation Form

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I would like to recommend Dreams Made Small The Education of Papuan Highlanders in Indonesia for the library. Please include it in your next purchasing review with my strong recommendation. The RRP is: $135.00

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BENEFIT FOR THE LIBRARY: This book will be a valuable addition to the library's collection.

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STUDENT REFERRAL: I will regularly refer my students to the book to assist their studies.

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